Let Us Descend, by Jesmyn Ward (Bloomsbury 2023)

Neil's picture

This is a shattering novel of the experience of slavery in America, through the narration of a slave girl, Annis, sold into slavery in New Orleans, and taken to a sugar plantation in Louisiana. It's a very dark book, as it needs to be. It's imbued with almost tangible grief, appallingly true despite being fiction, written in the style of a myth or a legend. Annis has a dignity and a sense of hope, despite the cruelty she suffers every day, and her conversations with spirits lend a mystical edge to the novel. The ending is inevitable, but cryptic. I would expect this novel to win major awards, it's unlike anything else I've read.