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Libertie: A Novel
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Algonquin Books 2021
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Named One of the Most-Anticipated Books of 2021 by:O, The Oprah MagazineThe New York Times, The Washington Post, TimeThe MillionsRefinery29Publishers LunchBuzzFeedThe RumpusBookPageHarper's Bazaar, Ms., Goodreads, and more “An elegantly layered, beautifully rendered tour de force that is not to be missed.” Roxane Gay, author of HungerLibertie is a feat of monumental thematic imagination.”Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, The New York Times Book Review“This is one of the most thoughtful and amazingly beautiful books I’ve read all year. Kaitlyn Greenidge is a master storyteller.”Jacqueline Woodson, author of Red at the Bone The critically acclaimed and Whiting Award–winning author of We Love You, Charlie Freeman returns with Libertie, an unforgettable story about one young Black girl’s attempt to find a place where she can be fully, and only, herself. Coming of age in a free Black community in Reconstruction-era Brooklyn, Libertie Sampson is all too aware that her purposeful mother, a practicing physician, has a vision for their future together: Libertie is to go to medical school and practice alongside her. But Libertie, drawn more to music than science, feels stifled by her mother’s choices and is hungry for something else—is there really only one way to have an autonomous life? And she is constantly reminded that, unlike her light-skinned mother, Libertie will not be able to pass for white. When a young man from Haiti proposes to Libertie and promises she will be his equal on the island, she accepts, only to discover that she is still subordinate to him and all men. As she tries to parse what freedom actually means for a Black woman, Libertie struggles with where she might find it—for herself and for generations to come. Inspired by the life of one of the first Black female doctors in the United States and rich with historical detail, Kaitlyn Greenidge’s new and immersive novel will resonate with readers eager to understand our present through a deep, moving, and lyrical dive into our past.
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Format:
Adobe PDF eBook, Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
03/30/2021
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781643751764
ASIN:
B08GFN3PX4
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Kaitlyn Greenidge. (2021). Libertie: A Novel. Algonquin Books.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Kaitlyn Greenidge. 2021. Libertie: A Novel. Algonquin Books.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Kaitlyn Greenidge, Libertie: A Novel. Algonquin Books, 2021.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Kaitlyn Greenidge. Libertie: A Novel. Algonquin Books, 2021. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Mar 26, 2021 17:12:53
Date Updated:
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        Kaitlyn Greenidge's debut novel, We Love You, Charlie Freeman, was one of the New York Times Critics’ Top 10 Books of 2016 and a finalist for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. She is a contributing writer for the New York Times and the features director at Harper's Bazaar, and her writing has also appeared in Vogue, Glamour, the Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University's Lewis Center for the Arts, as well as fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Whiting Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Substack, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Greenidge lives in Massachusetts. Her second novel, Libertie, is available now.
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Named One of the Most-Anticipated Books of 2021 by:
O, The Oprah MagazineThe New York Times, The Washington Post, TimeThe MillionsRefinery29Publishers LunchBuzzFeedThe RumpusBookPageHarper's Bazaar, Ms., Goodreads, and more
“An elegantly layered, beautifully rendered tour de force that is not to be missed.” 

Roxane Gay, author of Hunger
Libertie is a feat of monumental thematic imagination.”

Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, The New York Times Book Review
“This is one of the most thoughtful and amazingly beautiful books I’ve read all year. Kaitlyn Greenidge is a master storyteller.”
Jacqueline Woodson, author of Red at the Bone
The critically acclaimed and...
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True
title
Libertie
fullDescription
Named One of the Most-Anticipated Books of 2021 by:
O, The Oprah MagazineThe New York Times, The Washington Post, TimeThe MillionsRefinery29Publishers LunchBuzzFeedThe RumpusBookPageHarper's Bazaar, Ms., Goodreads, and more
“An elegantly layered, beautifully rendered tour de force that is not to be missed.” 

Roxane Gay, author of Hunger
Libertie is a feat of monumental thematic imagination.”

Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, The New York Times Book Review
“This is one of the most thoughtful and amazingly beautiful books I’ve read all year. Kaitlyn Greenidge is a master storyteller.”
Jacqueline Woodson, author of Red at the Bone
The critically acclaimed and Whiting Award–winning author of We Love You, Charlie Freeman returns with Libertie, an unforgettable story about one young Black girl’s attempt to find a place where she can be fully, and only, herself.
Coming of age in a free Black community in Reconstruction-era Brooklyn, Libertie Sampson is all too aware that her purposeful mother, a practicing physician, has a vision for their future together: Libertie is to go to medical school and practice alongside her. But Libertie, drawn more to music than science, feels stifled by her mother’s choices and is hungry for something else—is there really only one way to have an autonomous life? And she is constantly reminded that, unlike her light-skinned mother, Libertie will not be able to pass for white. When a young man from Haiti proposes to Libertie and promises she will be his equal on the island, she accepts, only to discover that she is still subordinate to him and all men. As she tries to parse what freedom actually means for a Black woman, Libertie struggles with where she might find it—for herself and for generations to come.
Inspired by the life of one of the first Black female doctors in the United States and rich with historical detail, Kaitlyn Greenidge’s new and immersive novel will resonate with readers eager to understand our present through a deep, moving, and lyrical dive into our past.
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reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from January 4, 2021
        Greenidge (We Love You, Charlie Freeman) delivers another genius work of radical historical fiction. Libertie Sampson, a freeborn Black girl in Reconstruction-era Brooklyn, is pushed by her mother, a doctor, to follow in her footsteps. But Libertie, whose day-to-day experience differs from her mother due to her darker skin, is more interested in music and wants to follow her own path. In her poetic narration, she gives testimony to the injustices of white supremacy she witnesses and reflects on colorism, “colorstruck” misogyny, and the potential shackles of marriage, all the while turning over the question of what freedom is. When her mother insists on treating the same white women who recoil at Libertie’s dark skin, she believes her mother “gave up co-conspirators for customers.” Desperate to secure a future for Libertie, her mother sends her off to Cunningham College in Ohio, but Libertie turns away from her studies after she meets fellow students Experience and Louisa: “When I sang with them, my whole history fell away. There was no past, no promised future, only the present of one sustained note.” After Libertie is kicked out of Cunningham, she schemes to bring Experience and Louisa to Brooklyn and sing for the Black community. But her road gets rockier, and a marriage proposal from a Haitian man brings mixed blessings, leading her to continue reflecting on the limits of freedom for a Black woman. This pièce de résistance is so immaculately orchestrated that each character, each setting, and each sentence sings.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        January 1, 2021
        A young Black woman travels from Brooklyn to Haiti in search of herself in this historical novel by the author of We Love You, Charlie Freeman (2016). "I saw my mother raise a man from the dead." This is the first line of Greenidge's second novel and the first words we hear from the novel's eponymous heroine. Libertie's mother is a doctor, and the resurrection she has just witnessed is, in fact, an escape, the dead man merely drugged and smuggled North in a coffin. Libertie was born free, but she knows that freedom is complicated. Her mother overcame prejudice against both her gender and her race to become a doctor, and she expects her daughter to do exactly the same. But Dr. Sampson's light complexion means that White patients trust her enough to seek her treatment. Libertie's skin is dark, though, and the fact that Libertie has no desire to be a doctor means that her mother's lofty dream for her is oppressive. When Libertie meets Emmanuel Chase, a young doctor from Haiti, she is overwhelmed both by his eager courtship and his depiction of Haiti as a Black utopia. It's only when she's married and far from home, trapped in a house with in-laws who despise her, that Libertie discovers Emmanuel's egalitarian vision will only be reality for women at some indeterminate time in the future. Greenidge explores issues that are still real today while also inviting readers into historical moments that will be new to many. Just as colorism shapes Libertie's relationships with Black people, classism does, too. There are fine distinctions between those who stole themselves away to freedom and those who were born to it, those who work for themselves and those who work for others. One particularly revelatory moment in the novel occurs when Libertie is helping organize a fundraiser for her school. A dean suggests that two vocalists who specialize in European art songs perform spirituals instead, and the young women balk at the idea of singing those songs in front of an audience of White people. Greenidge reminds us that music that has become so much a part of the American canon was born in the fields, a music made by enslaved Black people among enslaved Black people. Greenidge shows us aspects of history we seldom see in contemporary fiction.

        COPYRIGHT(2021) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        February 1, 2021
        Few novels have as strong a sense of place as this fascinating blend of magical realism and African American historical fiction by the author of We Love You, Charlie Freeman (2016). Set just before and after the Civil War, Libertie recounts the coming-of-age of the title character, a free Black girl in New York whose widowed mother is a coolly independent homeopathic doctor and community leader. Libertie grows up with a strong sense of female power, in awe of her mother's gifts but uncertain of her own path. In spite of her considerable talent, she resists following her mother into medicine; the subsequent break in their relationship and Libertie's headlong plunge into a new life in Haiti lead to heartbreak for them both. Greenidge succeeds beautifully at presenting the complexities of an intense mother-daughter bond, with its blend of unrealistic expectations, disappointments, and betrayals. At the same time, the historical context of traumatized escaped enslaved people, race riots, colorism, and conflicting visions on how to achieve Black freedom (stay in the U.S. and fight or build an all-Black civilization abroad?) weaves the story of one family into the larger tragedy of the African diaspora. Greenidge creates a richly layered tapestry of Black communal life, notably Black female life, and the inevitable contradictions and compromises of "freedom."

        COPYRIGHT(2021) Booklist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: School Library Journal
      • content:

        Starred review from February 1, 2021

        Gr 9 Up-The question of freedom in all its varied senses weave throughout this stunning historical novel. Libertie, a dark-skinned girl, was born free in post-Civil War Brooklyn. Her light-skinned mother (based on a real-life figure) worked to help with the Underground Railroad and as a doctor, a practice she expects Libertie to take over. But after spending time at an all-Black girls school, Libertie finds herself drawn away from science and towards music. Searching for a freedom to call her own, Libertie agrees to marry a Haitian man who claims that in Haiti, she will be treated as his equal. However, she is startled to discover that even there, she is expected to be subordinate. She struggles with this new life for herself, questioning her decision to give up the potential for a more independent life alongside her mother in Brooklyn. Woven through Libertie's coming of age is her growing understanding of colorism, classism, racism, and patriarchy as she struggles to define what being free means for a Black woman. This engaging novel immerses readers in a world rich with historical detail that brings to life lesser-known aspects of post-Civil War American history, such as Black women in medicine and the relationship between Haiti and the United States. VERDICT This will appeal to teenage fans of adult authors like Toni Morrison, Brit Bennett, and Yaa Gyasi.-Ann Foster, Saskatoon P.L., Sask.

        Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        February 5, 2021

        If coming of age isn't hard enough for a young woman in 1860s Brooklyn, being the daughter of the only Black woman doctor in the region (possibly the country) ratchets up the pressure for Libertie Sampson. Libertie has always known that her mother would like her to follow in her footsteps and become a doctor so that they can practice together. But Libertie, who is darker-skinned than her mother and thus suffers more insults and prejudice, strains against her mother's expectations. When she goes away to college in Ohio, she finds herself drawn more to music and poetry than medicine. Then she meets Emmanuel Chase, a Haitian man who makes promises of the life they could lead in his home country, and Libertie makes a decision that will have far-reaching consequences. VERDICT Greenidge's second novel (after We Love You, Charlie Freeman) is a richly detailed and well-researched work of historical fiction. Centering her narrative on the lives of Black women, she explores issues of racism, colorism and misogyny in lyrical and lovely prose.--Jane Jorgenson, Madison P.L., WI

        Copyright 2021 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

subtitle
A Novel
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publisher
Algonquin Books
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