'Let Us Descend' by Jesmyn Ward

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Let Us Descend
320 pages; Scribner
Jesmyn Ward is the author of three previous novels—two of which have won the National Book Award. She is the only woman and the only Black author to have received that honor. A fan of her writing for years, Oprah has read all of Ward’s books and calls her newest offering, Let Us Descend, "a vital work for our culture." The novel tells the story of Annis, a young enslaved woman who is separated from her mother and sold South. Traveling from the Carolina rice fields to the New Orleans slave markets to the harsh world of a Louisiana sugar plantation, Annis uncovers a hidden world of spiritual forces and ancestral wisdom that helps her survive the inhumanity she endures.