A genre-hopping, continent-spanning debut novel that uses the history of the trans-Atlantic slave trade as the backdrop for a magical realist adventure involving four characters from far-flung corners of the African diaspora.
Reading Wayétu Moore’s debut novel, She Would Be King...feels a lot like watching a superb athlete’s performance ... Moore makes deft use of magical realism, and her plot and its details are compelling ... Like her remarkable protagonist Gbessa, the author has tapped into her own backstory–and emerged with literary superpowers.
Moore’s vivid characters, beguiling language and powerful subject matter engage us thoroughly. The book is unforgettable ... Magic, ghosts, transmogrification and all manner of hauntings are as commonplace as the casual death and dismemberment of Africans ... The novel examines some...colonial tensions and contradictions, but it leaves many others unexamined in its focus on the European colonial menace. Still, even with these fissures, the story is irresistibly evocative and fierce. She Would Be King is a masterfully wrought alternate history of magical black resistance and should not be missed.
Wayétu Moore’s debut novel is more than an imagining of Liberia’s mid-1800s beginnings; it is a magical account of ongoing, individual and collective independence from oppressive forces ... Moore’s insightful, emotional descriptions graft these stories right onto readers’ hearts. A celebration of freedom and justice that compassionately tells the stories of exceptional people, Moore’s debut is about every fight against death and bondage.