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Perish by LaToya Watkins
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Perish by LaToya Watkins
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Aug 23, 2022 | ISBN 9780593585337 | 600 Minutes

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    Aug 01, 2023 | ISBN 9780593185926

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  • Aug 23, 2022 | ISBN 9780593185933

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  • Aug 23, 2022 | ISBN 9780593585337

    600 Minutes

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*A Black Caucus of the American Library Association Honor Book for Fiction*

*Named one of BookBub’s “16 Books to Read Over Labor Day Weekend” and Ebony‘s Books by Black Authors That Should Be on Your Fall Reading List”*

*Featured in Refinery 29’s As A Young Black Mom, These Are The Books I Want To Pass Along To My Daughter*

Praise for Perish

“Watkins’s prose is effortless and forthright. . . .This is an impressive feat of storytelling. . . . A tender story of silences and secrets. It’s a novel about coming home, despite that home being broken. And it’s a brave triumph of a novel that readers won’t forget long after finishing it.”
—The New York Times Book Review

“Though painful, this beautifully crushing experiment in empathy and brokenness is worth experiencing. Watkins and Tiny Reparations Books have made a bold statement with Perish and will both be worth watching for what comes next.”
Associated Press

Perish offers a moving look into Black communities, bringing complexity and nuance to this story of intergenerational trauma and the toll it takes on the human spirit. But for all the secrets, resentments, and bitterness here, Watkins has generosity of spirit enough to entertain the possibility of forgiveness; miraculous and moving, light glimmers at the edges of this wise novel.”

“Expertly weaving alternating chapters littered with regrets, fears, and hopes, Watkins’s poignant prose and powerful voice cement her as one to watch.”

“With Perish, Watkins joins a tradition of Southern writers who delve into the taboo and grotesque to expose a dark past and a dim, backtracking present. . . . Like Walker’s The Color Purple and Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, Perish lures readers past the pain with a spellbinding, buoyant use of language.”
Texas Monthly

“With Perish, Watkins has shaken off the shame of the ultimate taboo and brought it to light through the story of the unforgettable women who bear its burden. This novel will serve as a hand extended through the darkness to a great many of its readers.”
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Perish [is] an important and emotional read for anyone who’s had to reckon with their roots and the influence they have on their future. . . . Readers will discover their own strength and ability to move past intergenerational trauma—and embrace their roots along the way.”

“This debut opens with the character that will become the matriarch of the book, swilling turpentine in an attempt at an abortion. These early pages made my whole body hurt for Helen Jean and for the world that we live in. Perish moves backward and forward in time, following the Turner children as they navigate childhood and adulthood as Black Americans living in Texas. There is deep trauma for all of them as they’re forced to reckon with their past and the decline of the woman that held their family together. At times, there is stomach-flipping sadness in this book, but it also marks the beginning of what is sure to be a dazzling writing career for LaToya Watkins.”
—Al Woodworth, Amazon Book Review Editor      

“In this devastating debut, generational trauma has riven a Black Texas family, but the death of their matriarch may give the family a final chance to tell unvarnished truths to each other and maybe, finally, heal. Latoya Watkins’s impassioned prose brings to life her complex characters and their heavy internal struggles, as well as the flawed, but overwhelming, love they feel for one another.”

“With grace and aplomb, Watkins electrifies and shatters.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“[LaToya’s] bold and captivating writing keeps readers floating through time, leaving us with thought-provoking revelations regarding healing that begins with loving and forgiving oneself before it can be extended to others.”

“I’d be hard-pressed to say what I admire most about LaToya Watkins’s debut novel—the nuanced, fully realized characters, the firmly rooted sense of place, or the author’s fierce, elegant, and fearless prose. Perish is a heartrending story, urgently told, about family, trauma, and the salvific power of forgiveness and love. Helen Jean Turner and her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren will linger in my heart for a long time.”
―Elizabeth Wetmore, New York Times bestselling author of Valentine

“LaToya Watkins writes with a gaze that is warm and compassionate, but courageous and unflinching, refusing to look away from difficulty. Perish is a resonant debut novel, a robust family story told with beautiful cadences and textures. Watkins has a wonderful heart that animates every page from beginning to end.”
Jamel Brinkley, author of A Lucky Man

“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 the prize-winning novel In West Mills

“LaToya Watkins is a writer of undeniable talent and her debut novel, Perish, is a piercing family drama with characters who will stay with you for a long, long time.”
Regina Porter, author of The Travelers

“From the early pages of this novel, I knew I was in the hands of a master storyteller. Watkins stuns in this impressive debut about how trauma travels with us across generations. This story of family and forgiveness will stay with you long after the last page.”
—Nancy Johnson, author of The Kindest Lie

Perish is distressing, wildly unpredictable and entirely unforgettable.”

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