I am so happy to share my review for The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr.
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Published: January 5th, 2021
A novel about the forbidden union between two enslaved young men on a Deep South plantation, the refuge they find in each other, and a betrayal that threatens their existence.
Isaiah was Samuel’s and Samuel was Isaiah’s. That was the way it was since the beginning, and the way it was to be until the end. In the barn they tended to the animals, but also to each other, transforming the hollowed-out shed into a place of human refuge, a source of intimacy and hope in a world ruled by vicious masters. But when an older man—a fellow slave—seeks to gain favor by preaching the master’s gospel on the plantation, the enslaved begin to turn on their own. Isaiah and Samuel’s love, which was once so simple, is seen as sinful and a clear danger to the plantation’s harmony.
With a lyricism reminiscent of Toni Morrison, Robert Jones, Jr. fiercely summons the voices of slaver and the enslaved alike to tell the story of these two men; from Amos the preacher to the calculating slave-master himself to the long line of women that surround them, women who have carried the soul of the plantation on their shoulders. As tensions build and the weight of centuries—of ancestors and future generations to come—culminate in a climactic reckoning, The Prophets masterfully reveals the pain and suffering of inheritance, but is also shot through with hope, beauty, and truth, portraying the enormous, heroic power of love. – synopsis from Goodreads
“There are no lines. For everything is a circle, turning back on itself endlessly. This is not to make you dizzy, but to give you the chance to get it right the next time..”
You know when sometimes you come across a book that is so special it’s hard to say anything about it but you know it will live on in your heart? These types of books are sometimes scarce but when you do stumbled on one it makes it that much more special. That was The Prophet by Robert Jones Jr for me. As I try to think about ways to describe or resume the book I find it difficult because it would mean critiquing something that I found so special and not give it the justice it deserves.
What I am able to say is I loved it and wasn’t able to put it down. I was mesmorized by the writing and the story. This is a debut? Just wow! Though there was a lot of suffering and darkness in The Prophets it was also lined with so much beauty and hope. It shows us how something as pure and simple as love can be viewed throughout history and acceptance changes through it as well.
There were a lot of points of views in the book but don’t be frightened some of them seemed to be just an outside view to what was happening. It all flowed well together for me. It didn’t get confusing because each of them seemed to be telling the story of Samuel and Isaiah and how they regarded them.
I highly recommend this one. I know from the cover and synopsis it might not look like much but give it a shot you might be surprised. Definietly a 5 star for me.