The Water Dancer - Ta-Nehisi Coates

The Water Dancer

By Ta-Nehisi Coates

  • Release Date: 2019-09-24
  • Genre: African American
Score: 4
From 3,191 Ratings


#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB PICK • From the National Book Award–winning author of Between the World and Me, a boldly conjured debut novel about a magical gift, a devastating loss, and an underground war for freedom.

“This potent book about America’s most disgraceful sin establishes [Ta-Nehisi Coates] as a first-rate novelist.”—San Francisco Chronicle

IN DEVELOPMENT AS A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE • Adapted by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Kamilah Forbes, directed by Nia DaCosta, and produced by MGM, Plan B, and Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Films

NOMINATED FOR THE NAACP IMAGE AWARD • NAMED ONE OF PASTE’S BEST NOVELS OF THE DECADE • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Time • NPR • The Washington PostChicago TribuneVanity FairEsquire Good Housekeeping PasteTown & Country • The New York Public Library • Kirkus Reviews Library Journal

Young Hiram Walker was born into bondage. When his mother was sold away, Hiram was robbed of all memory of her—but was gifted with a mysterious power. Years later, when Hiram almost drowns in a river, that same power saves his life. This brush with death births an urgency in Hiram and a daring scheme: to escape from the only home he’s ever known.

So begins an unexpected journey that takes Hiram from the corrupt grandeur of Virginia’s proud plantations to desperate guerrilla cells in the wilderness, from the coffin of the Deep South to dangerously idealistic movements in the North. Even as he’s enlisted in the underground war between slavers and the enslaved, Hiram’s resolve to rescue the family he left behind endures.

This is the dramatic story of an atrocity inflicted on generations of women, men, and children—the violent and capricious separation of families—and the war they waged to simply make lives with the people they loved. Written by one of today’s most exciting thinkers and writers, The Water Dancer is a propulsive, transcendent work that restores the humanity of those from whom everything was stolen.

Praise for The Water Dancer

“Ta-Nehisi Coates is the most important essayist in a generation and a writer who changed the national political conversation about race with his 2015 memoir, Between the World and Me. So naturally his debut novel comes with slightly unrealistic expectations—and then proceeds to exceed them. The Water Dancer . . . is a work of both staggering imagination and rich historical significance. . . . What’s most powerful is the way Coates enlists his notions of the fantastic, as well as his fluid prose, to probe a wound that never seems to heal. . . . Timeless and instantly canon-worthy.”Rolling Stone


  • A good book

    By hpelh
    Highly recommend!
  • !

    By dtest666
  • Awesome

    By WORC2000
    Great insight into the world as it was.
  • Loved it

    By NeusaMonteiro
    It was a great reading experience and captivating.
  • Loved it on so many levels!

    By Rob B L Clark
    Great Book to say the least!!!
  • The Water Dancer

    By patranoco
    A beautifully written and poignant story.
  • Stunning narrative

    By Tianac1699
    Eloquently written, captivating, and truly riveting
  • Water Dancer.

    By YayaNetski
    Interesting cast of characters. Kind of an epic type book of Southern life of days gone by. The lives of slaves and masters. Those who tried to change the system , those who fought to maintain it and what it did to them.
  • Fascinating

    By Suse40
    This is a fictional account of the works of the Underground Railroad, and adds fascinating elements of mystery and conjuring to the lives of slaves and those who run to freedom. This book also lays out some of the true cost of chattel slavery—the separation of families and the utter destruction of community.
  • Literary excellence!

    By lexus6504
    This is perhaps the most intellectually stimulating books I have ever read. It sends you into a world seldom explored, the feelings of the slave. The heartbreak, despair, helplessness and hope are felt throughout this book. It gives feeling to the plight of the slaves instead of the master.