In the order received, here are some positive words about my upcoming book, Ancestor Trouble, from writers I admire who took time from their own important work to craft this praise: Abbott Kahler, Laila Lalami, Maaza Mengiste, Sarah Smarsh, and Dionne Ford. I’m grateful beyond measure to each of them, knowing, as Alexander Chee has said, that “writers are often terrifying to normal people” because there’s “almost nothing they will not sell in order to have the time to write. Time is our mink, our Lexus, our mansion.”
“Ancestor Trouble is a memoir like no other I’ve ever read: it’s an addictive mystery story, an unflinching examination of America’s darkest history, and a plangent meditation on the power of long-buried secrets to assert themselves in our lives. With astonishing erudition and empathy, Maud Newton has woven together sociology, science, and her own genealogical sleuthing to craft a narrative at once universal and intensely personal. A haunting, thought-provoking, and utterly mesmerizing book.“ — Abbott Kahler, New York Times bestselling author (as Karen Abbott) of The Ghosts of Eden Park
Ancestor Trouble is a superbly written and meticulously researched book about the people and stories that shape us. Through careful examination of census records, genealogy, and DNA data, Maud Newton patiently excavates her family’s troubled history, revealing how the past continues to inform the present, in ways that are sometimes invisible to us. An extraordinary work.” — Laila Lalami, author of The Other Americans
“One of the most uncompromising and compassionate books about the tangled web that binds us to our past. Maud Newton writes with fierce brilliance about family, racism, mental illness, and the personal and national burdens of history. What do we owe our ancestors? How much of their sins become our responsibilities? In this magnificent book, Newton refuses to look away from her most intimate and painful moments, and in the process she leads us towards a vision of what individual and national healing might look like. Startling in scope and breadth, Ancestor Trouble firmly establishes Newton as one of our most exciting — and necessary — writers.” — Maaza Mengiste, author of The Shadow King, shortlisted for the Booker Prize
“Ancestor Trouble lifts the veil between our present moment and past generations, some long buried, who shape our lives whether we realize it or not. With cultural analysis, global historical contexts, and her own compelling hunt for family history, Maud Newton invites us to consider our ancestors with a reverence Western thought often forgets.” — Sarah Smarsh, New York Times bestselling author of Heartland
“Whether they are writers, womanizers, preachers, or enslavers, Maud Newton soberly reckons with her ancestors in this absorbing narrative, as addictive as genealogy itself. In reflections ranging from the scientific to the spiritual, Newton builds a bridge between her and her ancestors that is fascinating, deeply moving, and sure to make every reader want to spend some time with their kin.” — Dionne Ford, co-editor of Slavery’s Descendants: Shared Legacies of Race and Reconciliation
These are some of the best writers and thinkers working today, and I hope you’ll read their books, if you haven’t yet. And I also hope you’ll read Ancestor Trouble! If you’d like to pre-order a signed or personalized copy, order from Greenlight Bookstore and be sure to enter your order information at checkout. Other venues: your local indie, Powell’s, Barnes & Noble, and Target. You know where to find the other place.