Palmares marries magic realism to an often brutal coming-of-age tale . . . but intimate and dreamily intense in the telling
Palmares is an odyssey, one woman's search first for a place, and then for a person . . . a story woven with extraordinary complexity, depth and skill; in many ways: holy . . . [it] is the first of five new works by Gayl Jones to come in the next two years. After suffering the author's absence for far too long, we - the witnesses longing for texts like hers, the borderline sacred - can rejoice at her return
A sprawling, ambitious tale of racial struggle, Portuguese colonial rule, magical realism and mythology, full of imaginative plotlines and language as pungent and varied as the food in the book: everything from rolls with jelly mango and coconut, to onion soup made with wild honey . . . [Palmares is] a sublime feat of imagination
Complex and beguiling . . . Palmares is suffused with a strange magic that no other writer possesses'
Gayl Jones, recognized since the 1970s as one of America's most important black writers, is breaking new literary ground and performing a laudable act of historical redemption . . . A work of great imagination and remarkable depth and richness
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
Palmares conjures up an epic quest for freedom and knowledge in 17th-century Brazil. The book's narrator is a young slave named Almeyda, who hears talk of Palmares, a place of refuge for the enslaved. Escaping there herself, she discovers love with a fellow fugitive, but the community is destroyed by war and her lover disappears. Almeyda sets out in search of him and of a new Palmares. Astonishingly rich in character and incident, filled with magic and mystery . . . always intriguing
A literary giant, and one of my absolute favourite writers
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
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
Gayl Jones conjures with deep intimacy and immediacy a brutal world that is centuries past but fully alive with spirit and mystery. Page after breathtaking page, her prose is intricate, mesmerizing, and endlessly inventive and subversive. Palmares is absolutely stunning!
I can't tell you the last time I picked up a book and was struck dumb by the sheer beauty of its prose, and the enormity of what I don't know, but I'm here to tell you Palmares is that book
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
Palmares, Jones' long-awaited fifth novel, is a blistering return to form worth the two decade wait ... Gorgeously suffused with mystery, history, and magic, Palmares is a remarkable new outing from a major voice in American letters
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
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
Palmares reinvents 17th-century Black Brazil in all its multiplicity, beauty, humanity and chaos. It is a once-in-a-lifetime work of literature, the kind that changes your understanding of the world
Daring, multifaceted . . . I love the novel for its scope, its singular vision, its playfulness with form as well as the complexity of its female characters. It marks the return of a lesser-known literary giant. Discovered by Toni Morrison no less, Jones withdrew from the publishing world after a few acclaimed novels. I'm thrilled she's returned with this bold, imaginative feat.
An intricate, imaginative story of love and brutality . . . After a two-decade absence, Jones is back with a formidable novel steeped in history, magical realism, trauma and triumph