Book Cover Image of The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis
Paperback Description:

The arrival of a major new voice in contemporary fiction.

A debut of extraordinary distinction: Ayana Mathis tells the story of the children of the Great Migration through the trials of one unforgettable family.

Oprah and Ayana“My newest Book Club pick, “The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by first-time novelist Ayana Mathis gives me that same feeling of connection. It spoke so deeply to me about what is unique and personal to the many generations of our Tribe. New voices, like Ayana’s, are painting a rich and multilayered tapestry to bring the emotional center of the Great Migration to life. The Great Migration is a pivotal time in American history that affected our grandparents, our parents, our aunts and uncles, and now ultimately continues to impact all of us on the other side of it. You’ll find the characters in The Twelve Tribes of Hattie are so familiar, it’s like going to a family reunion. For any book club, you hope to engage and connect with a story so that you feel expanded, inspired, enriched—like you’ve been somewhere special, that you otherwise wouldn’t have gone. This is that kind of novel for every reader. For those of us who share the African American experience, and for all of us who share the human experience, I think it is a journey not to be missed.

I am honored to introduce you to Ayana Mathis and The Twelve Tribes of Hattie. I believe you will love it as much as I do.” —Oprah Winfrey

About the Book

In 1923, fifteen-year-old Hattie Shepherd flees Georgia and settles in Philadelphia, hoping for a chance at a better life. Instead, she marries a man who will bring her nothing but disappointment and watches helplessly as her firstborn twins succumb to an illness a few pennies could have prevented. Hattie gives birth to nine more children whom she raises with grit and mettle and not an ounce of the tenderness they crave. She vows to prepare them for the calamitous difficulty they are sure to face in their later lives, to meet a world that will not love them, a world that will not be kind. Captured here in twelve luminous narrative threads, their lives tell the story of a mother’s monumental courage and the journey of a nation.

Beautiful and devastating, Ayana Mathis’s The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is wondrous from first to last—glorious, harrowing, unexpectedly uplifting, and blazing with life. An emotionally transfixing page-turner, a searing portrait of striving in the face of insurmountable adversity, an indelible encounter with the resilience of the human spirit and the driving force of the American dream.

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