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The Rib King
by Ladee Hubbard




Overview -

Thrillist - 30 Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2021

Book Riot - Our Most Anticipated Releases of 2021

Real Simple - The Best New Books to Read in 2021

Chicago Review of Books - 12 Must-Read Books of January

Book Riot - January 2021 Horoscopes and Book Recommendations

Glamour--7 of the Best New Books in January

Vulture - 46 Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2021

Lit Hub - Lit Hub's Most Anticipated Books of 2021

GMA.com - 16 January reads for the new year

Harper's Bazaar - 24 Books You Need to Read in 2021 -

The Millions - Most Anticipated: The Great First-Half 2021 Book Preview

Popsugar - From Bravery to Outlawed - These Are the Best Books of January 2021

Ms. Magazine - January 2021 Reads for the Rest of Us

Bustle - The Best New Books, Week of January 18th

Vulture - 27 Notable New Releases Over the Next Two Weeks

Lit Hub - 14 new books to fuel your reading resolutions


"Ultimately the reason to read The Rib King is not its timeliness or its insight into politics or Black culture, but because it accomplishes what the best fiction sets out to do: It drops you into a world you could not otherwise visit and makes you care deeply about what happens there."--BookPage (starred review)

The acclaimed author of The Talented Ribkins deconstructs painful African American stereotypes and offers a fresh and searing critique on race, class, privilege, ambition, exploitation, and the seeds of rage in America in this intricately woven and masterfully executed historical novel, set in early the twentieth century that centers around the black servants of a down-on-its heels upper-class white family.

For fifteen years August Sitwell has worked for the Barclays, a well-to-do white family who plucked him from an orphan asylum and gave him a job. The groundskeeper is part of the household's all-black staff, along with "Miss Mamie," the talented cook, pretty new maid Jennie Williams, and three young kitchen apprentices--the latest orphan boys Mr. Barclay has taken in to civilize boys like August.

But the Barclays fortunes have fallen, and their money is almost gone. When a prospective business associate proposes selling Miss Mamie's delicious rib sauce to local markets under the brand name "The Rib King"--using a caricature of a wildly grinning August on the label--Mr. Barclay, desperate for cash, agrees. Yet neither Miss Mamie nor August will see a dime. Humiliated, August grows increasingly distraught, his anger building to a rage that explodes in shocking tragedy.

Elegantly written and exhaustively researched, The Rib King is an unsparing examination of America's fascination with black iconography and exploitation that redefines African American stereotypes in literature. In this powerful, disturbing, and timely novel, Ladee Hubbard reveals who people actually are, and most importantly, who and what they are not.

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More About The Rib King by Ladee Hubbard

 
 
 

Overview

Thrillist - 30 Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2021

Book Riot - Our Most Anticipated Releases of 2021

Real Simple - The Best New Books to Read in 2021

Chicago Review of Books - 12 Must-Read Books of January

Book Riot - January 2021 Horoscopes and Book Recommendations

Glamour--7 of the Best New Books in January

Vulture - 46 Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2021

Lit Hub - Lit Hub's Most Anticipated Books of 2021

GMA.com - 16 January reads for the new year

Harper's Bazaar - 24 Books You Need to Read in 2021 -

The Millions - Most Anticipated: The Great First-Half 2021 Book Preview

Popsugar - From Bravery to Outlawed - These Are the Best Books of January 2021

Ms. Magazine - January 2021 Reads for the Rest of Us

Bustle - The Best New Books, Week of January 18th

Vulture - 27 Notable New Releases Over the Next Two Weeks

Lit Hub - 14 new books to fuel your reading resolutions


"Ultimately the reason to read The Rib King is not its timeliness or its insight into politics or Black culture, but because it accomplishes what the best fiction sets out to do: It drops you into a world you could not otherwise visit and makes you care deeply about what happens there."--BookPage (starred review)

The acclaimed author of The Talented Ribkins deconstructs painful African American stereotypes and offers a fresh and searing critique on race, class, privilege, ambition, exploitation, and the seeds of rage in America in this intricately woven and masterfully executed historical novel, set in early the twentieth century that centers around the black servants of a down-on-its heels upper-class white family.

For fifteen years August Sitwell has worked for the Barclays, a well-to-do white family who plucked him from an orphan asylum and gave him a job. The groundskeeper is part of the household's all-black staff, along with "Miss Mamie," the talented cook, pretty new maid Jennie Williams, and three young kitchen apprentices--the latest orphan boys Mr. Barclay has taken in to civilize boys like August.

But the Barclays fortunes have fallen, and their money is almost gone. When a prospective business associate proposes selling Miss Mamie's delicious rib sauce to local markets under the brand name "The Rib King"--using a caricature of a wildly grinning August on the label--Mr. Barclay, desperate for cash, agrees. Yet neither Miss Mamie nor August will see a dime. Humiliated, August grows increasingly distraught, his anger building to a rage that explodes in shocking tragedy.

Elegantly written and exhaustively researched, The Rib King is an unsparing examination of America's fascination with black iconography and exploitation that redefines African American stereotypes in literature. In this powerful, disturbing, and timely novel, Ladee Hubbard reveals who people actually are, and most importantly, who and what they are not.


 

Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062979063
  • ISBN-10: 006297906X
  • Publisher: Amistad Press
  • Publish Date: January 2021
  • Page Count: 384
  • Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds


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BookPage Reviews

The Rib King

In the era of the belated (and semi-involuntary) retirement of the likes of Uncle Ben, Aunt Jemima and Mrs. Butterworth, The Rib King could hardly be more prescient, as it centers on a Black man who is the face of a food brand.

The novel’s first half takes place near the beginning of World War I, a time when the Civil War was no further removed from memory than the Vietnam War is from our minds today. And while the formerly well-to-do white Barclay family is inclined to behave less spitefully toward people of different races, they are by no means paragons of enlightenment. Much as in the Depression-era classic My Man Godfrey, it turns out that the key to solving the family’s financial ills may be held by the overlooked butler, in this case August Sitwell. He agrees to deliver a recipe for—and to be the public image of—a meat sauce that establishes him nationwide as the Rib King.

Fast forward a decade, and one of his former co-workers, Jennie Williams, has a product of her own to sell, which sweeps her unwillingly back into the Rib King’s orbit. In this half of the book, Ladee Hubbard’s talent really shines as Jennie navigates a maze of intrigue involving revenge, betrayal, economic exploitation, racial conflict and the often brutal exercise of power.

Hubbard’s depiction of a shadow economy bracketed by race is compelling and insightful, reminiscent of playwright August Wilson’s finest work. Woven into this narrative is a captivating depiction of Black feminist agency at a time not long after white women had gained the right to vote. It’s little wonder that Hubbard won the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for debut fiction in 2018.

Ultimately the reason to read The Rib King is not its timeliness or its insight into politics or Black culture, but because it accomplishes what the best fiction sets out to do: It drops you into a world you could not otherwise visit and makes you care deeply about what happens there.

 

BAM Customer Reviews