author – activist – faculty – mom
Since becoming a mom, it takes me forever to read anything. Especially anything intense. Since I’m most likely “reading” in audio format, I’m listening while driving, rushing to get things done while my daughter is at school, or falling asleep at night. This means that much of my listening time needs to be relaxing content. I can’t fall asleep if things are too suspenseful, and don’t want to arrive to pick up my daughter all uptight and on a cliffhanger, wondering how the protagonist will survive.
With these criteria in mind, it has taken me surprisingly long to get through Natalie Baszile’s fabulous novel, Queen Sugar. Don’t let the lovely dragonflies on the cover fool you, or the family-sugar-cane-farm-saga mislead you. This is a very suspenseful book. What a masterful job Baszile does of mixing in both mystery and thriller elements into a deep exploration of African American people’s relationship with the south, farming, and our labor histories in relation to cash crops. She also creates a stunning and complex portrait of African American family dynamics, trauma, violence, and structural racism. Best of all, for those of us who have limited capacity for heaviness in our pleasure reading, she manages to achieve all this while delivering an overall upbeat story.
A great read. No wonder Oprah’s TV network will be making it into a series. I will definitely be watching.