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Palmares hails the return of a major voice in literature – ‘the best American novelist whose name you may not know’ (Atlantic). Gayl Jones was first discovered and edited by Toni Morrison, and her talent was praised by writers including Maya Angelou, James Baldwin and John Updike. After a handful of acclaimed novels, she withdrew from the publishing world. Now Jones returns with her first new novel in over two decades.

AN EPIC TALE OF LOVE AND LIBERATION SET IN SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY COLONIAL BRAZIL

From plantation to plantation, Almeyda, a young slave girl, hears whispers, rumours of Palmares, a hidden settlement where fugitive slaves live free. But can this promised land exist? And what price is paid for ‘freedom’?

In Palmares, Gayl Jones brings to life a world full of unforgettable characters, reimagining extraordinary historical events and combining them with mythology and magic. The result is a sweeping saga spanning a quarter of a century. Of Gayl Jones, the New Yorker noted, ‘[Her] great achievement is to reckon with both history and interiority, and to collapse the boundary between them.’ Like nothing else before it, Palmares embodies this gift.

Reviews

Gayl Jones's work represents a watershed in American literature. From a literary standpoint, her form is impeccable; from a historical standpoint, she stands at the very cutting edge of understanding the modern world, and as a Black woman writer, her truth-telling, filled with beauty, tragedy, humor, and incisiveness, is unmatched. Jones is a writer's writer, and her influence is found everywhere
Imani Perry
A literary giant, and one of my absolute favourite writers
Tayari Jones, author of AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE
Jones reemerges after a 21-year hiatus with an epic and inventive saga that weaves together magic, mythology, and Portuguese colonial history . . . Jones brings her established incisiveness and linguistic flair to the horrifyingly accurate portrayal of racial struggle . . . it's a triumphant return
Publisher's Weekly
Palmares enfolds the reader in a bygone world, with a glance to our own, and has a great whispering lushness that is both magical and panoramic
Diana Evans, author of ORDINARY PEOPLE
A legendary African American novelist returns with her first novel in 22 years, an epic adventure of enchantment, enslavement, and the pursuit of knowledge in 17th-century Brazil . . . Those familiar with Corregidora (1975) and Eva's Man (1976) will not be surprised by the sustained intensity of both imagery and tone. There is also sheer wonder, insightful compassion, and droll wit to be found among the book's riches. Jones seems to have come through a life as tumultuous as her heroine's with her storytelling gifts not only intact, but enhanced and enriching
Kirkus
Jones's feats of linguistic and historical invention are on ample display . . . Gayl Jones's new work is as relevant as ever. With monumental sweep, it blends psychological acuity and linguistic invention in a way that only a handful of writers in the transatlantic tradition have matched. She has boldly set out to convey racial struggle in its deep-seated and disorienting complexity - Jones sees the whole where most only see pieces
Calvin Baker, Atlantic
Tremendous. A masterfully absorbing, mythic work from a vital voice. The gods have conspired to gift us a new book from Gayl Jones and my what a gloriously eddying read
Irenosen Okojie, author of NUDIBRANCH