A Times Book of the Month and Roxane Gay's Book Club May Pick
by Kaitlyn Greenidge
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 29 Apr 2021 | Archive Date 28 Apr 2021
Serpent's Tail / Profile Books, Serpent's Tail
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 28 members
Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge is a gorgeous, lyrical work of historical fiction. It reads like an odyssey of a woman’s search to find herself and true freedom. The story begins in post-Civil-War New York, where Libertie witnesses her mother resurrect an enslaved man from the dead, a man who found his way to freedom inside of a coffin. Libertie and her mother Cathy Sampson are freeborn. Cathy is a doctor who establishes a clinic in an “all-coloured” town in Kings County. Cathy shares her ambitions with Libertie and believes one day a carriage will bear in gold writing the words ‘Dr Sampson and Daughter’. Greenidge beautifully captures the disparate relationship between mother and daughter, one of dreams for a future braided from the injustices and absences of the past. But Libertie desires autonomy, freedom and it is these choices which widen the divide between them and send Libertie overseas seeking identity and equality elsewhere in the folds of marriage and motherhood. The world captured in the book is textured with myth, spirits and riddles. The resurrected man, Ben Daisy is an elemental figure for the rest of Libertie’s life, a man for whom freedom could not release his caged heart. This is a powerful, essential story which confronts history with the sharpness of a gifted writers vision for the future encapsulated by Libertie who writes to her mother that she has “almost reached the garden.”