the next good book

The Prophets

By Robert Jones Jr.


378 pages

#1 Indie Next Pick
One of:The New York Times Book Review‘s Books to Watch for in January
The Washington Post‘s 10 Books to Read in January
TIME‘s 10 New Books You Should Read in January
O, the Oprah Magazine‘s 32 LGBTQ Books That Will Change the Literary Landscape in 2021
Good Morning America’s Best Books to Read this January
CNN’s Best Books of JanuaryHarper’s Bazaar‘s Winter’s Best New Releases
BuzzFeed’s Most Anticipated Historical Fiction of 2021
PopSugar‘s Best Books of January
Lit Hub’s Most Anticipated Books of 2021
Electric Literature‘s Most Anticipated Debuts of 2021
The Millions‘ Most Anticipated Books of 2021
Debutiful’s Best Debuts of January
Lambda Literary’s Most Anticipated LGBTQ Books of January
LGBTQ Read’s Most Anticipated LGBTQIAP Fiction of 2021 Picks
Kirkus Reviews‘ Most Anticipated Books of the Fall
What’s it about?
Samuel and Isaiah are slaves living on a plantation in Mississippi called Empty.  As young men they are tasked with keeping the animals and the barn- a job that requires brawn and strong backs.  As they grow into the job, they also grow into a romantic relationship.  This relationship goes unremarked upon until another slave, Amos, decides to start preaching the white man’s God on Sundays.  Once Amos begins preaching, the other slaves realize that this relationship puts them all at risk.
What did it make me think about?
How our behaviors are shaped by our circumstances.
Should I read it?
Robert Jones Jr. is a beautiful storyteller. This book is told in many different voices- from slaves to slaveowners. It is heart wrenching and affirming at the same time. I was apprehensive about this book.  I had heard it was a story of two gay lovers living in slavery in the South.  I couldn’t imagine it and I am amazed at what Robert Jones Jr. made me feel about this subject.  To me- this novel was about having the courage to love, no matter your circumstances, rather than who you choose to love.
​”This is why Isiah and Samuel didn’t care, why they clung to each other even when it was offensive to the people who had once shown them a kindness: it had to be know.  And why would this be offensive? How could they hate the tiny bursts of light that shot through Isaiah’s body every time he saw Samuel?  Didn’t everybody want somebody to glow like that?  Even if it only last for never, it had to be known. That way, it could be mourned by somebody, thus remembered- and maybe, someday, repeated.”

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