She Would Be King by Wayétu Moore

She Would Be King

A novel of exhilarating range, magical realism, and history—a dazzling retelling of Liberia’s formation.Wayétu 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
ISBN9781555978174
Author
Release DateSep 11th, 2018
PublisherGraywolf Press
LanguageEnglish
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Magical Realism, Fantasy, Cultural, Africa, Western Africa, Liberia
Rating

Reviews She Would Be King

  • BookOfCinz
    1970-01-01
    Imagine Homegoing ON CRACK! I am not sure why there isn't a bigger hype surrounding Wayetu Moore's debut novel She Would Be King because it is absolutely enthralling. While I don't like comparing books, for some reason this book reminded me of how I felt reading Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. I felt a pounding in my chest and fluttering in my stomach as I asked myself while reading this book- "what magic is this book?!" . I was reminded of how I fe...
  • Dominique
    1970-01-01
    "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...
  • Meike
    1970-01-01
    When a beautiful special edition of Moore's debut was delivered to me as part of Powell's Indiespensable collection, I was stoked: Finally a novel about the foundation of Liberia, a fascinating country I had learnt about when I was part of an (American) Model UN team representing Liberia at National Model United Nations. And Moore does talk about the complicated history of this state, envisioned as a "free colony" at the African coast, a place we...
  • Trudie
    1970-01-01
    *3.5* This a tough review to write because my feelings on this book are so mixed. On one hand I learned a terrific amount about the foundation story of Liberia. A story that has been rarely explored in fiction. I thought it was interesting that a recent NYT article alignedMoore’s potential legacy to that of the Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, whose novels about Nigeria reignited popular interest in the country’s stories. “She is...
  • Darkowaa
    1970-01-01
    !!! full review - https://africanbookaddict.com/2018/09... 3.5 stars rounded up. I’d love to know what Liberians and Liberian-Americans think of this novel, as they would probably better understand the nuances of the story. I can confidently say I will read anything by Wayétu Moore, and that this debut is a lovely ode to the country of Liberia and Liberian womanhood, through Gbessa’s complex characterization.
  • Naori
    1970-01-01
    If the spirits lifted me from my body tonight and this was the last book I ever read I would dance with laughter and joy. I will never forget this feeling because it is so incredibly rare. I remember the wonder when I finished the last page of the first Octavia Butler book I ever read and it felt a lot like this. I haven't read a book of this magnitude in the last two years and that is not a bit of an exaggeration. I don't want to try to translat...
  • David
    1970-01-01
    "Norman took off his shoes and placed his feet in the water, stiffening from its rigidity."If this sentence appeals to you - grammatically and atmospherically - then you may enjoy this book."...mostly he just sat on a rock near some cultivated land farthest from the cluster of houses on three rows of hills, watching and writing ardently, as two or three sailors looked askance."If you find this tolerable - structurally and descriptively - then you...
  • Hanna
    1970-01-01
    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...
  • Marchpane
    1970-01-01
    Magical realism meets Marvel action movie to create a mythic fable of nationhood. Wayétu Moore’s debut, She Would Be King, infuses the historical founding of Liberia with tales of spirits, wanderers and strange happenings. In true superhero style, each of the key figures has a tragic backstory, and the first half of She Would Be King relates their origin stories in turn. Mothers are central to Moore, so the three tales all begin with a mother ...
  • Bethany
    1970-01-01
    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 ...
  • Jan
    1970-01-01
    Beautifully written blend of West African and Western story telling in this novel of Liberia’s founding. Definitely an author to keep an eye on.
  • Jaclyn Crupi
    1970-01-01
    Now this is storytelling! Moore utilises a fascinating literary arsenal: magical realism, African mythology and folklore, historical research and slavery revenge fantasies and unleashes them to full effect. Think Homegoing meets Pachinko with strong Black Panther overtones. Damn this was good! I hope it does for Liberian fiction what Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s work has done for Nigerian fiction.
  • Jerrie (redwritinghood)
    1970-01-01
    I found the story very uneven and some characters added solely for interest and not for the story. The first part was stronger with some good character-development, but the second part failed to use those characters to their potential. While centered around an interesting part of history, the book overall was bland. 2.5⭐ I found the story very uneven and some characters added solely for interest and not for the story. The first part was stro...
  • Stacey A. Prose and Palate
    1970-01-01
    No words. Incredible. Review to come.
  • Tasha
    1970-01-01
    I feel so bad for not liking this book. It has so many positive reviews and I just could not get into it at all. It was more of a 2.5 star read than 3 😕
  • Janelle • She Reads with Cats
    1970-01-01
    Review to come
  • Katie Long
    1970-01-01
    Sigh. I really thought I would love this one. There are some brilliant elements and the story is a fascinating one, however it just never quite comes together convincingly. The pacing is very strange as well. At times, it feels so rushed that the characters aren’t developed and at others, it feels weighted and plodding. 2.5 rounded up.
  • Emily
    1970-01-01
    I really wanted to love this, but it ended up being a bit "meh" for me.The structure of the book is ostensibly three parts, each part a different character who eventually finds themselves in Liberia. We have Gbessa, a Vai woman declared cursed because of the circumstances of her birth. Then there's Norman Aragon, who is the son of a woman who's a slave in Jamaica and a white British "scientist" who is "studying" the Maroon colonies of Jamaica. An...
  • Megan C.
    1970-01-01
    Absolutely loved this book - check out my IG account @whatmeganreads for my full review. I think this would make an AMAZING book club book - there is so much to discuss and I think you'll be surprised at how much you have learned by the end.
  • Miriam
    1970-01-01
    Incredible. Beautifully written, compelling and magical tale.
  • Linda Robinson
    1970-01-01
    Compelling storytelling with such power, the scenes leap off the page into your senses. More later when I start breathing normally again...Analyzing data from the space exploration vehicles we've been lucky to have working in the cosmos, scientists find new planets. Exomoons. Reading this debut novel is like finding a new big thing in the universe. I've never liked the phrase "magical realism" - I think everything's magic and the characters we ar...
  • Nicky
    1970-01-01
    3.5* rounded downPossible thoughts to follow
  • Lekeisha The Booknerd
    1970-01-01
    I have no doubts that She Would Be King will be loved by many. And, on that note, if you are a fan of Yaa Gyasi's Homegoing - or any literary masterpiece of the like - then this book should be on your TBR. Liberia's history told in magical locution. It doesn't get any better than that. I loved Gbessa's voice and strength, as well as June Day's. My only problem was the way the story ended. Not that it was bad, but it seemed to abruptly stop. Or ma...
  • Susan Henderson
    1970-01-01
    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.
  • Charlotte (charandbooks)
    1970-01-01
    Gbessa, a Vai girl, is said to be cursed because she was born on a day when a fellow tribe member suspected of witchcraft died and is thus exiled from her tribe but survives against all odds. Charlotte, a Virginia slave, dies while trying to protect a fellow slave that has lost both wife and child but her son June Dey is able to flee from the plantation due to his superhuman strength. Norman Aragon is born in Jamaica as the child of a forced rela...
  • Will
    1970-01-01
    3.5, rounded up.
  • Jite
    1970-01-01
    Loved it!This debut novel by Wayétu Moore is not at all in what I would call my preferred genre. I’m not particularly into fantasy or adventure or historical fiction. That said when Amazon recommended this to me when it was released, something about it grabbed my attention and I had to give it a read. Good decision making on my part because I absolutely loved this novel.The novel is in two “books” or two parts if you will. The first (title...
  • ONYX Pages
    1970-01-01
    Maybe 3.5; still reflecting. I enjoyed the read overall, it was thrilling and action-packed at parts. But, I was left with concerns about the plot, characters, and overall consistency of the story's scope and pace. Still, I want to hear more from this author. I can tell from reading this that she has so many amazing stories to tell beyond this debut novel, and I'm so ready for her literary voice to take its place in the canon, eventually.
  • Beverly
    1970-01-01
    This was a 3.5 read for me.Thoughts coming shortly