Authors & Events
Aug 23, 2022
| ISBN 9780593185919
Aug 23, 2022
| ISBN 9780593185933
Aug 23, 2022
| 540 Minutes
Aug 23, 2022 | ISBN 9780593185919
Aug 23, 2022 | ISBN 9780593185933
Aug 23, 2022 | ISBN 9780593585337
From a stunning new voice comes a powerful debut novel: Perish, about a black Texan family, exploring the effects of inherited trauma and intragenerational violence as the family comes together to say goodbye to their matriarch on her deathbed. Bear it or perish yourself. Those are the words Helen Jean hears that fateful night in her cousin’s outhouse that change the trajectory of her life. Spanning decades, Perish tracks the choices Helen Jean—the matriarch of the Turner family—makes and the way those choices have rippled across generations, from her children to her grandchildren and beyond. Told in alternating chapters that follow four members of the Turner clan: Julie B., a woman who regrets her wasted youth and the time spent under Helen Jean’s thumb; Alex, a police officer grappling with a dark and twisted past; Jan, a mother of two who yearns to go to school and leave Jerusalem, Texas, and all of its trauma behind for good; and Lydia, a woman whose marriage is falling apart because her body can’t seem to stay pregnant, as they’re called home to say goodbye to their mother and grandmother. This family’s “reunion” unearths long-kept secrets and forces each member to ask themselves important questions about who is deserving of forgiveness and who bears the cross of blame. With stirring, evocative prose and a sense of place that is wholly immersive; offering a nuanced look into black communities in Texas; and tackling themes like family, trauma, legacy, home, class, race, and more, this beautiful yet heart-wrenching novel will appeal to anyone who is interested in the intricacies of family and the ways bonds can be made, maintained, or irrevocably broken.
LaToya Watkins’s writing has appeared in A Public Space, The Sun, McSweeney’s, Kenyon Review, The Pushcart Prize Anthology (2015), and elsewhere. She has received grants, scholarships, and fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Hedgebrook, and A… More about LaToya Watkins
Praise for Perish“The love LaToya Watkins has for her characters is evident on every page of this incredibly moving debut. Read Perish with a family member.”―De’Shawn Charles Winslow, author of prize-winning novel, In West Mills
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