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{ "item_title" : "How to Say Babylon", "item_author" : [" Safiya Sinclair "], "item_description" : "National Book Critics Circle Award WinnerA New York Times Notable BookA Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick!A Best Book of 2023 by the New York Times, Time, The Washington Post, Vulture, Shelf Awareness, Goodreads, Esquire, The Atlantic, NPR, and Barack Obama With echoes of Educated and Born a Crime, How to Say Babylon is the stunning story of the author's struggle to break free of her rigid Rastafarian upbringing, ruled by her father's strict patriarchal views and repressive control of her childhood, to find her own voice as a woman and poet. Throughout her childhood, Safiya Sinclair's father, a volatile reggae musician and militant adherent to a strict sect of Rastafari, became obsessed with her purity, in particular, with the threat of what Rastas call Babylon, the immoral and corrupting influences of the Western world outside their home. He worried that womanhood would make Safiya and her sisters morally weak and impure, and believed a woman's highest virtue was her obedience. In an effort to keep Babylon outside the gate, he forbade almost everything. In place of pants, the women in her family were made to wear long skirts and dresses to cover their arms and legs, head wraps to cover their hair, no make-up, no jewelry, no opinions, no friends. Safiya's mother, while loyal to her father, nonetheless gave Safiya and her siblings the gift of books, including poetry, to which Safiya latched on for dear life. And as Safiya watched her mother struggle voicelessly for years under housework and the rigidity of her father's beliefs, she increasingly used her education as a sharp tool with which to find her voice and break free. Inevitably, with her rebellion comes clashes with her father, whose rage and paranoia explodes in increasing violence. As Safiya's voice grows, lyrically and poetically, a collision course is set between them. How to Say Babylon is Sinclair's reckoning with the culture that initially nourished but ultimately sought to silence her; it is her reckoning with patriarchy and tradition, and the legacy of colonialism in Jamaica. Rich in lyricism and language only a poet could evoke, How to Say Babylon is both a universal story of a woman finding her own power and a unique glimpse into a rarefied world we may know how to name, Rastafari, but one we know little about.", "item_img_path" : "https://covers3.booksamillion.com/covers/bam/1/98/213/233/1982132337_b.jpg", "price_data" : { "retail_price" : "28.99", "online_price" : "25.51", "our_price" : "25.51", "club_price" : "25.51", "savings_pct" : "12", "savings_amt" : "3.48", "club_savings_pct" : "12", "club_savings_amt" : "3.48", "discount_pct" : "10", "store_price" : "28.99" } }
How to Say Babylon|Safiya Sinclair
How to Say Babylon : A Memoir
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Overview

National Book Critics Circle Award Winner
A New York Times Notable Book
A Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick!
A Best Book of 2023 by the New York Times, Time, The Washington Post, Vulture, Shelf Awareness, Goodreads, Esquire, The Atlantic, NPR, and Barack Obama With echoes of Educated and Born a Crime, How to Say Babylon is the stunning story of the author's struggle to break free of her rigid Rastafarian upbringing, ruled by her father's strict patriarchal views and repressive control of her childhood, to find her own voice as a woman and poet. Throughout her childhood, Safiya Sinclair's father, a volatile reggae musician and militant adherent to a strict sect of Rastafari, became obsessed with her purity, in particular, with the threat of what Rastas call Babylon, the immoral and corrupting influences of the Western world outside their home. He worried that womanhood would make Safiya and her sisters morally weak and impure, and believed a woman's highest virtue was her obedience. In an effort to keep Babylon outside the gate, he forbade almost everything. In place of pants, the women in her family were made to wear long skirts and dresses to cover their arms and legs, head wraps to cover their hair, no make-up, no jewelry, no opinions, no friends. Safiya's mother, while loyal to her father, nonetheless gave Safiya and her siblings the gift of books, including poetry, to which Safiya latched on for dear life. And as Safiya watched her mother struggle voicelessly for years under housework and the rigidity of her father's beliefs, she increasingly used her education as a sharp tool with which to find her voice and break free. Inevitably, with her rebellion comes clashes with her father, whose rage and paranoia explodes in increasing violence. As Safiya's voice grows, lyrically and poetically, a collision course is set between them. How to Say Babylon is Sinclair's reckoning with the culture that initially nourished but ultimately sought to silence her; it is her reckoning with patriarchy and tradition, and the legacy of colonialism in Jamaica. Rich in lyricism and language only a poet could evoke, How to Say Babylon is both a universal story of a woman finding her own power and a unique glimpse into a rarefied world we may know how to name, Rastafari, but one we know little about.

Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781982132330
  • ISBN-10: 1982132337
  • Publisher: 37 Ink/Simon & Schuster
  • Publish Date: October 2023
  • Dimensions: 9 x 6.5 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Page Count: 352

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With unparalleled lyricism and a command of language only a poet could possess, How to Say Babylon: A Memoir recounts Safiya Sinclair’s life as a Rastafarian child raised under the oppressive and patriarchal rule of her father. While providing a contextual background on Rastafari—a religious movement and cultural community many have heard of, but few outsiders understand—Jamaican-born Sinclair tells the story of her and her siblings’ upbringing of isolation, fear and poverty. Shining a spotlight on the persecution and unwanted attention her unorthodox upbringing garnered in Jamaica, in addition to the acts of racism running rampant in the Western world, Sinclair describes acts of ignorance and cruelty from a perspective so close, you can feel her wounds. How to Say Babylon contemplates matters of race and religion, of class and equality, of identity and womanhood, through an unforgettable voice that’s unflinchingly raw and powerful. The beacon of light throughout this often tragic narrative is Sinclair's journey to her vocation as a writer. With rich descriptions that feel languid and decadent, each sentence should be consumed like a meal—filled with literary nutrition and poetic garnishes that’ll leave Sinclair’s fellow writers begging for the recipe. Inhabiting a space between poetry and prose, with the very best elements of both on display, How to Say Babylon is truly a poet’s memoir. A story of Black womanhood that grips the reader through its obvious feat of craft and its captivating storytelling, the style of Sinclair’s work is utterly unique, including phonetic dialogue that brings Jamaica’s Rastafarian world to life. How to Say Babylon also considers the power of literature and education, the strength and perseverance of familial bonds and the complex notion of identity for people of color worldwide. Above all, the pages of How to Say Babylon should be savored like the final sip of an expensive wine—with deference, realizing that a story of this magnitude comes along all too infrequently.

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