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InstaReview: The Prophets by Robert Jones, Jr.

"There are no lines. For everything is a circle, turning back on itself endlessly. This is not to make you dizzy, but to give you the chance to get it right the next time."

The Prophets is a groundbreaking debut novel by Robert Jones Jr, who sought to tell a story set during slavery without inflicting vicarious trauma on his readers. For every moment of brutality, there is a moment of hope or resilience. The novel revolves around the relationship between two young men on a plantation, Isaiah and Samuel, who become each other's harbors in the storm of the Antebellum south. Jones tells their story through a kaleidoscope of different character perspectives, from slave to slave master, engendering both empathy and derision in turn. He does not dwell on the horrors of slavery, but rather centers the humanity of those enslaved. That being said, it’s still a heartbreaking book. The lyrical, almost experimental prose was loved by some but somewhat inaccessible to others, leaving us to a divided rating - so it's 4.5 stars from #owcbookrecs. You can follow the author online at @thesonofbaldwin.


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