Archives par étiquette : Wayétu Moore

MELANCTHA de Wayétu Moore

A masterful work of magical realism which follows the life of a West African immigrant girl living in the US who discovers that she can breathe underwater.

by Wayétu Moore
Viking, Fall 2022
(via Writers House)

Melanctha is dealing with relentless bullying from her middle school classmates when she meets Habila, a sea witch in the vein of Mami Wata (an ancient West-African mythological figure who drowns civilians so she won’t be alone). Habila first coerces Melanctha to drown her bully. He is the first of two men throughout her life who she hypnotizes with help of a family heirloom. As Habila pushes Melanctha further, encouraging her to use her power to rid the world of evil men, Melanctha discovers that the use of this power has a catch.
As the novel unfolds in three parts: “small girl,” “gronah girl,” and “woman,” we see Melanctha come of age and enter adulthood, while the narrative voice takes on a unique style in each part to coincide with each phase of her life. This wrenching story is a complex exploration of the many faces and stages of a woman’s power, and what happens when she decides that she does not want to use it for good.
Moore invites her readers to carefully consider how racism and misogyny overwhelmingly encourage Black women to act out a pathology of perpetual forgiveness by presenting it as a seemingly necessary means of survival. By showing what can happen when a remarkably strong woman goes against the grain and chooses to seek justice and dole out punishment on her own terms, rather than do what is expected of her, MELANCTHA offers a revolutionary alternative to this insidious aspect of our culture.
Through her brilliant weaving of history, myth, cultural criticism, and the supernatural, Moore’s writing resonates with readers of contemporary greats Imbolo Mbue, Naomi Alderman, Marlon James, Yaa Gyasi, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and recalls classic writers like Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Toni Cade Bambara and Toni Morrison.

Wayétu Moore is the author of She Would Be King, which was a Sarah Jessica Parker Book Club selection, a BEA Buzz Panel Book and a #1 Indie Next Pick, and the memoir The Dragons, The Giant, The Women. She is the founder of One Moore Book, a non-profit organization that encourages reading among children of countries with low literacy rates and underrepresented cultures by publishing culturally relevant books that speak to their truths, and by creating bookstores and reading corners that serve their communities. Her first bookstore opened in Monrovia, Liberia in 2015. Her writing can be found in The New York Times, The Paris Review, Guernica Magazine, The Rumpus, The Atlantic Magazine and other publications, and she has been featured in Vogue, The Economist Magazine, NPR, NBC, BET and ABC, among others.


An engrossing memoir of escaping the First Liberian Civil War and building a life in the United States.

by Wayétu Moore

Graywolf Press, June 2020
(chez Writers House – voir catalogue)

When Wayétu Moore turns five years old, her father and grandmother throw her a big birthday party at their home in Monrovia, Liberia, but all she can think about is how much she misses her mother, who is working and studying in faraway New York. Before she gets the reunion her father promised her, war breaks out in Liberia. The family is forced to flee their home on foot, walking and hiding for three weeks until they arrive in the village of Lai. Finally, a rebel soldier smuggles them across the border to Sierra Leone, reuniting the family and setting them off on yet another journey, this time to the United States. Spanning this harrowing journey in Moore’s early childhood, her years adjusting to life in Texas as a black woman and an immigrant, and her eventual return to Liberia, THE DRAGONS, THE GIANT, THE WOMEN is a deeply moving story of the search for home in the midst of upheaval. Moore has a novelist’s eye for suspense and emotional depth, and this unforgettable memoir is full of imaginative, lyrical flights and lush prose. In capturing both the hazy magic and the stark realities of what is becoming an increasingly pervasive experience, Moore shines a light on the great political and personal forces that continue to affect many migrants around the world, and calls us all to acknowledge the tenacious power of love and family.

Wayétu Moore is the author of She Would Be King and the founder of One Moore Book. She is a graduate of Howard University, Columbia University, and the University of Southern California. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.