With her debut novel, “Grace,” Natashia Deón has announced herself beautifully and distinctively. Her emotional range spans several octaves. She writes with her nerves, generating terrific suspense. And her style is so visual it plays tricks on the imagination — did I just watch that scene? Or did I read it? Ms. Deón is not merely another new author to watch. She has delivered something whole, and to be reckoned with, right now… It’s Ms. Deón’s real and rare ability to make reading a felt, almost physical experience — of terror, rage, identification, sorrow. Ms. Deón is a graphic and unsparing storyteller… In “Grace,” Ms. Deón explores, with psychological acuity and absolutely no mercy, what the institution did to slave women — specifically, how it deprived them of the most basic chance to love, delight in and protect their own children.” —New York Times, Jennifer Senior

 

“In vivid, haunting prose, Déon looks at one such line of women—mother, daughter, granddaughter—to tell the stories that must be told. A profound work of heart and grace.”

The Root

 

“[An] immersive tale… You’ll believe every word.”—People

 

“[A] haunting portrait of slavery, love and violence.”—Newsday

"GRACE is [one of the] 240 best things about America."—TIME Magazine

 

“A multigenerational story about strong women in one of the darkest eras of American history."—Redbook

 

“Gripping and deeply affecting, Grace is an examination of injustice, violence, love, legacies, and survival.”—Buzzfeed

 

“Initially what sets Grace apart is aesthetic: Naomi tells her own story, and witnesses Josey’s, as a ghost. What stuck with me about this novel, though, is its questioning of what redemption and justice would mean in this context. Naomi finds resolution, but this remains an unsettled and unsettling, literally haunted, debut.”—The Globe and Mail

 

“This book is well worth any emotional turmoil it puts you through--especially at this particular moment in our country’s history.”—PureWow, Book Club Pick

 

“Put this one on your summer saga reading list.”—KQED Arts

 

“This is a violent but important story about mothers and daughters, and a dark chapter in American history.”—Bookish, summer recommended read

 

“A novel of subtle daggers… Grace is a spellbinding debut about race, the abiding bond between mother and child, and the tenebrous question of how the dead remain.”

Ploughshares (online), summer recommended read

 

“If the expression “natural-born storyteller” hasn’t yet gone to the glue factory, then [this novel] take[s] the nag out for a fresh canter…. Still, once you settle into [this] novel, a sign takes shape overhead: Quiet Please. People Reading…  [R]ight from these first few pages, Deón demonstrates a gift for terror by telegraph… overall the suspense doubles, marvelously.”—Brooklyn Rail

 

“Grace is a moving story about the bonds of mother and daughter in the most difficult of circumstances.”—ReadHerLikeAnOpenBook

 

“Deon’s novel is timely; she captures the eerily familiar violence of the slavery era, and the ways in which the promises of the Emancipation Proclamation turn hollow.”—Lithub

 

“Deón’s powerful debut is a moving, mystical family saga . . . The book provides penetrating insight into how confusing, violent, and treacherous life remained in the South after the Emancipation Proclamation, and how little life improved for freed slaves, even after the war. The omnipresences of Naomi’s ghost renders the story wide-angled, vast, and magical. Deón is a writer of great talent, using lyrical language and convincing, unobtrusive dialect to build portraits of each tragic individual as the sprawling story moves to its redemptive end.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

 

“[T]his is a brave story, necessary and poignant; it is a story that demands to be heard. This is the violent, terrifying world of the antebellum South, where African-American women were prey and their babies sold like livestock. This is the story of mothers and daughters—of violence, absence, love, and legacies. Deón's vivid imagery, deft characterization, and spellbinding language carry the reader through this suspenseful tale. A haunting, visceral novel that heralds the birth of a powerful new voice in American fiction.”—Kirkus, Starred Review

 

 “In her gripping debut novel, Deón, awarded a PEN Center USA Emerging Voices Fellowship, among other honors, dramatizes alliances formed by women in a violent place and time with adroit characterizations, a powerful narrative voice, and the propulsive plotting of a suspense novel… Deón stays in control of her complex material, from its clever parallel structure to the women’s psychological reactions to relentless tension. Readers will ache for these strong characters and yearn for them to find freedom and peace.” —Booklist, Starred Review

 

“One of those rare novels so assured, so beautiful and so singular in voice that it almost seems besides the point to say it's a debut (and yet it is). Natashia Deón's Grace is a powerfully telling tale of two generations of women and those in their lives over a nation-defining period of American history. This is when slavery was fought for and ended on this very ground. This is also when tribulation and hardship did not just end because slavery finally did. The sparks of determination, resilience, aspiration, hope, and, grace (yes), all burn, even against great odds, helping light the way. Set 150 years and more ago, Grace carries resonance and meaning for us today. I can't wait to put this in readers' hands.”—Rick Simonson, Elliott Bay Book Company (Seattle)

 

 “Natashia Deón’s gorgeous debut is not only a piercing and unwavering exploration of slavery and its legacy, but also a fierce insistence that we honor and acknowledge the ghosts that haunt our America today. Like all important, classic books, Grace makes a story we think we know, the story of our country and its people, dazzling and new. This is not a book anyone is going to be able to put down—or forget.” —Dana Johnson, author of Elsewhere, California, nominee for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award

 

"The ghost narrator in Grace articulates how she feels when she falls in love: filled. It is precisely how this flawlessly constructed novel will leave you. With muscular prose whose poetry is unforced, Deón lights a fire under the feet of her characters, women and men consumed by their fidelity to each other and untamed by their circumstances, who charge through history at the speed of thought. Deón makes the case anew that the facts of the past can only be understood by training an unflinching gaze upon the human beings who survived its horrors and proves on every page that only a consummate writer is equal to the task." —Ru Freeman, author of A Disobedient Girl and On Sal Mal Lane

 

“Natashia Deón’s superlative, gorgeously written debut grips you by the throat, exploring a teeming, post-Civil War world where the emancipation of slaves can be anything but freedom, violence is as casual as a cough, and love between a mother and a daughter can transcend even death. Scorchingly brilliant, this is one novel that already feels like a classic.” —Caroline Leavitt, New York Times Bestselling Author of Is This Tomorrow and Pictures of You

 

NATASHIA DEÓN

     Natashia Deón

WRITER

“A haunting, visceral novel that heralds the birth of a powerful new voice in American fiction.” Starred Kirkus Review