Over the years I worked on Ancestor Trouble, All Hallows’ Eve and Samhain became important to me. As a kid, I wasn’t allowed to celebrate Halloween, on the theory that it was demonic, so developing a tenderness and receptivity to what this time of year probably meant to my ancestors centuries ago took a long time. I’m filled with particular gratitude for the season this year, with two final amazing blurbs arriving from writers I admire an hour ago, within minutes of each other, interrupting a week of seemingly endless day job work.
Thank you to national treasure Honorée Fanonne Jeffers for taking time from her own work to craft this praise:
“Here is a wise and unsparing journey through many generations of one family. Here, Maud Newton searches through dusty, historical records and listens to elders’ storytelling voices. She’s determined to understand her ancestors, their grit, their tenderness— and sometimes, their ugly actions that make her question the blood that runs through her veins. And here, in Ancestor Trouble: A Reckoning and a Reconciliation, Newton takes this extraordinary journey not only for herself, but to illuminate this present moment in this country we all love. ‘Look,’ she tells us. ‘This is America. This is how we came to be.’” —Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, New York Times bestselling author of The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois
And thank you to fellow seeker Dani Shapiro, author of the gorgeous, tender, and truthful Inheritance (and the forthcoming novel, Signal Fires), for taking time from her own work to craft this praise:
Who are our ancestors to us? What do we inherit from them, and how do we grapple with their legacy? I can imagine no one better to explore this territory than Maud Newton, with her keen, agile mind and her brave, beautiful heart. Ancestor Trouble drills deep into the roots and bones of Newton’s own family, and is a roadmap for all of us who long to understand, at the deepest level, where we come from.” — Dani Shapiro, New York Times bestselling author of Inheritance
I’ve mentioned both of these writers and my admiration for their work many times, including in my Ancestor Trouble newsletter, and I’m sure I’ll keep following along there. Don’t miss Dani Shapiro’s Family Secrets podcast, if you haven’t listened. Earlier advance praise from Abbott Kahler, Laila Lalami, Maaza Mengiste, Sarah Smarsh, Dionne Ford, Garrard Conley, and Alexis Coe is on my book page in the order received, if you’re trying to decide whether to pre-order.