Recommended Reading: ‘The Water Dancer’

by | May 2020


Ta-Nehisi Coates’s first novel is a great work of suspenseful storytelling.

Journalist, graphic novelist, and bestselling author of Between the World and Me and We Were Eight Years in Power, Ta-Nehisi Coates’s first novel, The Water Dancer, is a great work of suspenseful storytelling. Young Hiram Walker’s earliest dreams are of freedom. He is determined to escape the bondage of slavery on the dying Lochless plantation in Virginia. Hiram is the son of the plantation owner. As the depleted soil gives lower and lower yields of tobacco, slaves are sold to pay off the owner’s growing debts. One of those sold down river is Hiram’s mother. Like his mother, Hiram has the power of conduction. Slaves dream that Moses in the form of Harriet Tubman will conduct them to freedom. Against all warnings, Hiram makes his break to find Tubman’s Underground Railroad. This hard to put down book is perfect for the cabin on Memorial Day weekend.

Maureen Millea Smith is a librarian at the Edina Library and a Minnesota Book Award-winning novelist.


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