She Would Be King by Wayetu Moore

She Would Be King

A novel of exhilarating range, magical realism, and history—a dazzling retelling of Liberia’s formationWayétu Moore’s powerful debut novel, She Would Be King, reimagines the dramatic story of Liberia’s early years through three unforgettable characters who share an uncommon bond. Gbessa, exiled from the West African village of Lai, is starved, bitten by a viper, and left for dead, but still she survives. June Dey, raised on a plantation ...

Details She Would Be King

TitleShe Would Be King
Release DateSep 11th, 2018
PublisherGraywolf Press
GenreFiction, Historical, Historical Fiction, Magical Realism, Cultural, Africa, Fantasy, Literary Fiction, Western Africa, Liberia, Literature, African Literature

Reviews She Would Be King

  • Dominique
    "I'n mean to hurt you. I thought you mean to hurt me..."This is such a beautiful, magical read. I found myself completely engulfed in the retelling of the beginning of Liberia and felt so connected to my family, ancestors, and history in a way that simply took my breath away. This is a piece of historical fiction that I will carry on my spirit for a long time.The story starts in 1831 with Gbessa, the witch being exiled from her Vai village for be...
  • Hanna
    Wow. Just, wow. What a powerful and magical read. A retelling of the creation of Liberia featuring 3 heartbreaking and mystical characters; Gbessa who has the gift (or curse) of immortality, June Dey who has super strength and is bulletproof (similar to Luke Cage, but during slavery. Plus, I will NEVER stop feeling all of the things when consuming media about bullet proof black men), and Norman who, like his mother, has the ability to become invi...
  • Bethany
    She Would Be King has a deeply mystical quality, punctuated by visceral episodes of brutality as it weaves a tale of oppression, magic, and freedom that spans an ocean. Part history, part magical realism, this book brings together an African witch cast out by her village, an American slave born in unusual circumstances, and a bi-racial Jamaican with a white rapist for a father, all with unusual abilities. The narrative tackles difficult subjects ...
  • Susan Henderson
    This magical retelling of Liberia’s beginning is so original, so bold and poetic, Wayétu Moore is destined for comparisons to Yann Martel, Markus Zusak, and Paulo Coelho. Her unforgettable heroine, Gbessa, leads those who’ve been stripped of their homes and their language to rise up and defend not only their own futures but the memory of those who would never see freedom.
  • Chris Roberts
    They Bury the Faraway ChildrenRide red highway, child laying in the backseat, breathe, not breathe - shallowturn onto overgrown path, ground rock-hard, dig, dig - shallow, ride red highway. Chris Roberts, God Suddenly
  • Morgan McComb
    It's hard to describe a novel as wholly original as She Would Be King: a re-telling of the birth of Liberia through interconnected stories, the novel is history, magic, and myth all in one engrossing story. Moore's novel takes you from West Africa to the plantations of Virginia, Jamaica to Liberia, weaving together the stories of three characters that yearn for power and true freedom. Guided by the ancient wind, all of Moore's characters challeng...
  • Terena
    This is an absolutely beautiful novel and one of the best I picked up at BookExpo. SHE WOULD BE KING is a magical realism telling of Liberia's creation story. But to describe it that way doesn't do it justice: The novel portrays the injustice inflicted on African women across time and place without being preachy or overtly political. Instead, it uses the power of story to show how these women are no one's victims -- they are a driving, creation f...
  • Megan Bell
    A cursed witch from the Vai tribe who cannot die, a slave from Virginia with the strength of a hundred men, a half-white Maroon from Jamaica who can disappear at will, these three surprising characters find their way to each other and to a newborn Liberia to fight for liberty in this magical realist debut from Wakétu Moore. I’ve never read anything like this before, a fascinating way to learn more about history and specifically Liberia!