She Would Be King

She Would Be King Review

A novel of exhilarating range, magical realism, and history—a dazzling retelling of Liberia’s formation.

Wayétu Moore’s powerful debut novel, She Would Be King, reimagines the dramatic story of Liberia’s early years through three unforgettable characters who share an uncommon bond. Gbessa, exiled from the West African village of Lai, is starved, bitten by a viper, and left for dead, but still she survives. June Dey, raised on a plantation in Virginia, hides his unusual strength until a confrontation with the overseer forces him to flee. Norman Aragon, the child of a white British colonizer and a Maroon slave from Jamaica, can fade from sight when the earth calls him. When the three meet in the settlement of Monrovia, their gifts help them salvage the tense relationship between the African American settlers and the indigenous tribes, as a new nation forms around them.

Moore’s intermingling of history and magical realism finds voice not just in these three characters but also in the fleeting spirit of the wind, who embodies an ancient wisdom. “If she was not a woman,” the wind says of Gbessa, “she would be king.” In this vibrant story of the African diaspora, Moore, a talented storyteller and a daring writer, illuminates with radiant and exacting prose the tumultuous roots of a country inextricably bound to the United States. She Would Be King is a novel of profound depth set against a vast canvas and a transcendent debut from a major new author.

Title:She Would Be King
Edition Language:English

    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Sarah Jessica Parker

    This beautiful novel dazzles and makes you want to lock yourself away and only read. Ms. Moore illuminates what it means to be of and from places that are both faraway and inescapably familiar. She to...

  • Dominique

    "I'n mean to hurt you. I thought you mean to hurt me..."This is such a beautiful, magical read. I found myself completely engulfed in the retelling of the beginning of Liberia and felt so connected to...

  • BookOfCinz

    Imagine Homegoing ON CRACK! I am not sure why there isn't a bigger hype surrounding Wayetu Moore's debut novel She Would Be King because it is absolutely enthralling. While I don't like comparing ...

  • Meike

    When a beautiful special edition of Moore's debut was delivered to me as part of Powell's Indiespensable collection, I was stoked: Finally a novel about the foundation of Liberia, a fascinating countr...

  • Trudie

    *3.5* This a tough review to write because my feelings on this book are so mixed. On one hand I learned a terrific amount about the foundation story of Liberia. A story that has been rarely explored i...

  • Darkowaa

    !!! full review - https://africanbookaddict.com/2018/09... 3.5 stars rounded up. I’d love to know what Liberians and Liberian-Americans think of this novel, as they would probably better understand ...

  • Hanna

    Wow. Just, wow. What a powerful and magical read. A retelling of the creation of Liberia featuring 3 heartbreaking and mystical characters; Gbessa who has the gift (or curse) of immortality, June Dey ...

  • Marchpane

    Magical realism meets Marvel action movie to create a mythic fable of nationhood. Wayétu Moore’s debut, She Would Be King, infuses the historical founding of Liberia with tales of spirits, wanderer...

  • Irene (Read.Rewind)

    4.5...

  • David

    "Norman took off his shoes and placed his feet in the water, stiffening from its rigidity."If this sentence appeals to you - grammatically and atmospherically - then you may enjoy this book."...mostly...