The Twelve Tribes of Hattie

  • In 1923, fifteen-year-old Hattie Shepherd, swept up by the tides of the Great Migration, flees Georgia and heads north. Full of hope, she settles in Philadelphia to build a better life. Instead she marries a man who will bring her nothing but disappointment, and watches helplessly as her firstborn twins are lost to an illness that a few pennies could have prevented. Hattie gives birth to nine more children, whom she raises with grit, mettle, and not an ounce of the tenderness they crave. She vows to prepare them to meet a world that will not be kind. Their lives, captured here in twelve luminous threads, tell the story of a mother’s monumental courage—and a nation's tumultuous journey.

  • The Twelve Tribes of Hattie

    By Ayana Mathis

    Paperback: 320 pages

  • “Astonishingly powerful. . . . Ms. Mathis gives us a haunting—and, yes, hopeful—glimpse of the possibility of redemption and the resilience of the human spirit.” —The New York Times

    “A remarkable page-turner of a novel . . . spans decades and covers dreams lost, found and denied.” —Chicago Tribune
      
    “Enthralling. . . . One remarkably resilient woman is placed against the hopes and struggles of millions of African Americans who held this nation to its promise.” —The Washington Post
     
    “Captivate[s] from the first pages. . . . As certainly as August Wilson did in the plays of his twentieth-century cycle, Mathis is chronicling our nation.” —The Boston Globe

    “Raw and intimate. . . . Gracefully told. . . . Deeply felt. . . . Compelling.” —The New York Times Book Review

    “The opening pages of Ayana’s debut took my breath away. I can’t remember when I read anything that moved me in quite this way, besides the work of Toni Morrison.” —Oprah Winfrey

    “A triumph. . . . Magnificently structured, and a sentence-by-sentence treasure—lyric, direct, and true.” —Salon

    “A dazzling debut, rich in language and psychological insight. . . . Mathis’s characters are those rarest of fictional creations: real living, breathing people.” —Huffington Post


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