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No One Is Coming to Save Us
by Stephanie Powell Watts


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NAMED A BEST BOOK OF 2017 BY Refinery29

JJ Ferguson has returned home to Pinewood, North Carolina, to build his dream house and to pursue his high school sweetheart, Ava.  Read more...


 
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More About No One Is Coming to Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts
 
 
 
Overview

*THE INAUGURAL SARAH JESSICA PARKER PICK FOR BOOK CLUB CENTRAL*

CHOSEN AS A 2017 BEST SUMMER READ PICK BY

The Wall Street Journal - The Washington Post - The Seattle Times

NAMED ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2017 BY

Entertainment Weekly - Nylon - Elle - Redbook - W Magazine - The Chicago Review of Books

NAMED A BEST BOOK OF 2017 BY Refinery29

JJ Ferguson has returned home to Pinewood, North Carolina, to build his dream house and to pursue his high school sweetheart, Ava. But as he reenters his former world, where factories are in decline and the legacy of Jim Crow is still felt, he's startled to find that the people he once knew and loved have changed just as much as he has. Ava is now married and desperate for a baby, though she can't seem to carry one to term. Her husband, Henry, has grown distant, frustrated by the demise of the furniture industry, which has outsourced to China and stripped the area of jobs. Ava's mother, Sylvia, caters to and meddles with the lives of those around her, trying to fill the void left by her absent son. And Don, Sylvia's unworthy but charming husband, just won't stop hanging around.

JJ's return--and his plans to build a huge mansion overlooking Pinewood and woo Ava--not only unsettles their family, but stirs up the entire town. The ostentatious wealth that JJ has attained forces everyone to consider the cards they've been dealt, what more they want and deserve, and how they might go about getting it. Can they reorient their lives to align with their wishes rather than their current realities? Or are they all already resigned to the rhythms of the particular lives they lead?

No One Is Coming to Save Us is a revelatory debut from an insightful voice: with echoes of The Great Gatsby it is an arresting and powerful novel about an extended African American family and their colliding visions of the American Dream. In evocative prose, Stephanie Powell Watts has crafted a full and stunning portrait that combines a universally resonant story with an intimate glimpse into the hearts of one family.


 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780062472984
  • ISBN-10: 0062472984
  • Publisher: Ecco Press
  • Publish Date: April 2017
  • Page Count: 384
  • Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > African American - General
Books > Fiction > Family Life - General
Books > Fiction > Literary

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2017-02-20
  • Reviewer: Staff

In her patient yet rich first novel, a Great Gatsby reboot, Watts (We Are Taking Only What We Need) digs deep into the wounds of a down-and-out African-American family in the contemporary South. Lone wolf J.J. Ferguson returns to economically depressed Pinewood, N.C., after 15 years to woo Ava, his high school crush, and build a hilltop mansion for all to envy. But the reunion is not what he bargained for. Ava, now married to Henry, a handsome but chronically miserable man with another family on the side, is a bored bank teller, at her wits end trying to get pregnant after three miscarriages (and searching for solace on mommies2b.com). Meanwhile Avas mother, Sylvia, is overweight, tired of being married to a perennial cheater, and filling the void by taking weekly phone calls from a 25-year-old prisoner shes never met who reminds her of her son. The book takes a beat too long to find its rhythm, but when it does, it hits homeand hard. Watts powerfully depicts the struggles many Americans face trying to overcome lifes inevitable disappointments. But its the compassion she feels for her characters vulnerability and desires J.J.s belief that he and Ava can work, Avas ache for a family, Sylvias wish to be seen and lovedthat make the story so relevant and memorable. (Apr.)

 
BookPage Reviews

Best Books of 2017

After much discussion and determined lobbying for our personal favorites, the editors of BookPage have reached a consensus on the year’s best books. These are the books we can’t forget—and can’t stop sharing with readers wherever we go.

#1 Celeste Ng
Little Fires Everywhere

In the privileged community of Shaker Heights, wealth and comfort crumble in the firelight of Ng’s brilliant storytelling.

#2 George Saunders
Lincoln in the Bardo

The incomparable winner of the 2017 Man Booker Prize is a heartbreaking, funny, strange reflection on grief after loss.

#3 Elif Batuman
The Idiot

This hilarious debut pulls no punches in depicting the absurdity of campus life and the particularly awkward magic of early adulthood.

#4 Mohsin Hamid
Exit West
Spiced with unexpected magic, this imaginative love story follows a young couple who join a wave of migrants as their city collapses.

#5 Stephanie Powell Watts
No One Is Coming to Save Us

In a riveting riff on The Great Gatsby, Watts’ first novel focuses on the residents of a down-on-its-luck North Carolina town.

#6 Min Jin Lee
Pachinko

Addicting and powerful, this superb novel follows four generations of a Korean family carving out a life in Japan despite racism and war.

#7 Jennifer Egan
Manhattan Beach

During World War II, one woman becomes the first female diver at the Brooklyn docks. Hold your breath and sink in deep.

#8 Walter Isaacson
Leonardo da Vinci

Isaacson delves into Leonardo’s life and pulls back the curtain of genius on one of the most brilliant men who ever lived.

#9 Ron Chernow
Grant

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author offers a richly detailed, uncommonly compelling biography of Ulysses S. Grant.

#10 Hala Alyan
Salt Houses

At the heart of Alyan’s debut are enormous themes of time and family, grounded by piercing insight and striking, poetic language.

#11 Jesmyn Ward
Sing, Unburied, Sing

This intricately layered story with supernatural elements offers a brutal view of racial tensions in the modern-day American South.

#12 David Sedaris
Theft by Finding

Beloved humorist Sedaris shares 20 years of observations in this collection of diary entries that toe the line between hilarious and weird.

#13 Nina Riggs
The Bright Hour

With levity and bittersweetness amid the worst moments, Riggs’ account of living with cancer is feisty, uplifting reading.

#14 Dennis Lehane
Since We Fell

Already optioned for film, this bewitching thriller follows an intrepid journalist as she uncovers her family’s darkest secrets.

#15 Scott Kelly
Endurance

After spending a year in space, veteran astronaut Kelly has returned to Earth to tell us what life is like among the stars.

#16 Sherman Alexie
You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me

Don’t trust just anyone to break your heart, but do trust Alexie and this unconventional memoir of his relationship with his mother.

#17 Viet Thanh Nguyen
The Refugees

Nine superb, understated stories from the Pulitzer Prize winner find characters stretched between cultures, countries and desires.

#18 Timothy B. Tyson
The Blood of Emmett Till

The most notorious hate crime in American history receives the insightful, fearless inquiry it deserves.

#19 Suzy Hansen
Notes on a Foreign Country

Hansen’s investigation into U.S. involvement abroad is a compelling look at the consequences of interventionist foreign policy.

#20 Richard Ford
Between Them

Ford’s memoir is a gentle testament to the powerful love his parents had for each other and for their son.

#21 Patricia Lockwood
Priestdaddy

This unforgettable memoir offers a heartbreakingly funny look at an award-winning poet’s unconventional Catholic upbringing.

#22 Kamila Shamsie
Home Fire

Shamsie’s confident, dreamy reimagining of Antigone grasps a throbbing heart of love and loyalty.

#23 Kayla Rae Whitaker
The Animators

Two best friends and successful cartoonists navigate the creative process in this heartfelt debut.

#24 Sarah Perry
After the Eclipse

A daughter attempts to come to terms with her mother’s murder in this emotional true-crime memoir.

#25 Inara Verzemnieks
Among the Living and the Dead

The granddaughter of Latvian refugees pieces together her history.

 

This article was originally published in the December 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
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