A breath-taking debut novel that chronicles the journey of generations of one American family, from the centuries of the colonial slave trade to our own tumultuous era. The great scholar, W.E.B. Du Bois, once wrote about the Problem of race in America, and what he called ‘Double Consciousness,’ a sensitivity that every African American possesses in order to survive. Since childhood, Ailey Pearl Garfield has understood Du Bois’s words all too well. From an early age, Ailey fights a battle to feel like she belongs, made all the more difficult by a hovering trauma, as well as the whispers of women – her mother, her sister and a maternal line reaching back two centuries – that urge her to succeed in their stead. Ailey decides to embark on a journey through her family’s past, uncovering the shocking tales of generations of ancestors – Indigenous, Black, and white – in the deep South.
In doing so she must learn to embrace her full heritage, a legacy of oppression and resistance, bondage and independence, cruelty and resilience that is the story – and the song – of America itself. Sweeping, compulsive and deeply moving, The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois is set to be one of the most talked about books of the 2021.