This book is no mere pick of the month. This is the kind of book that comes along once in a generation. The kind of book that makes us want to open bookstores. The kind of book that will be required reading for our children and grandchildren as they go through school. The kind of book that will be filmed page by page and line by line because there is not one thing about it that needs to be changed. I can only hope that we are ready to let this book change us. This is a story that needed to be told, but couldn’t be told without a great deal of pain. For Jesmyn Ward to explore this territory and tell this story amid her own personal grief is an act of bravery. It is an act of service to American society to tell this story no matter how hard it got, and to withhold shortcuts and saviors and swooping gestures, to force us to look at the honest truth of the human toll of our history. And it is an act of love to each and every individual who we will never know but whose story this could be.
Let Us Descend by Jesmyn Ward, (List Price: $28, Scribner, 9781982104498, March 2023)
Reviewed by Emily Liner, Friendly City Books in Columbus, Mississippi