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(4 / 5) The Prophets – Robert Jones, Jr.
This is one of those books that you will never regret reading but is still a little hard to get through. I listened to this one on Audible and I’m grateful I did because the narrator’s voice added feeling and nuance to the narrative that I may have missed had I read it myself.
Jones Jr. tells a number of stories all of which are connected by circumstance. The stories range from love stories and the intricate nature of family dynamics to violent kidnapping and death. The narrative is raw and authentic in its use of language and sentiment which makes this an emotional book for the reader because there is both a harshness and tenderness to Jones Jr.’s almost lyrical prose.
Each chapter is written from a particular character’s point-of-view and since the chapter titles are the names of the character speaking, it’s easy to follow the narrative voice. This is extremely helpful as there is a wide cast of characters, almost all of whom reside on a southern plantation when white owners enslaved African/black people and forced them to work for the owner’s profit.
This is a story about the violence, hatred, and bigotry meted out on black people (by both white people and other black people) but also about the love, friendship, and family, enslaved black people found in spite of it. Jones Jr. does not sugarcoat or pander to the sensitivities of “white fragility”* in this book but rather he tells an authentic story with true-to-form language and imagery.
Read on my friends!
*’White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism’ by Robin DiAngelo
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