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Black cake : a novel

by Wilkerson, Charmaine,

Format: Print Book 2022
Availability: Available at 22 Libraries 30 of 108 copies
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Summary
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * READ WITH JENNA BOOK CLUB PICK AS FEATURED ON TODAY * Two estranged siblings delve into their mother's hidden past--and how it all connects to her traditional Caribbean black cake--in this immersive family saga, "a character-driven, multigenerational story that's meant to be savored" ( Time ).

"Wilkerson transports you across the decades and around the globe accompanied by complex, wonderfully drawn characters."--Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times bestselling author of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Daisy Jones & The Six, and Malibu Rising

In development as a Hulu original series produced by Marissa Jo Cerar, Oprah Winfrey (Harpo Films), and Kapital Entertainment

We can't choose what we inherit. But can we choose who we become?
In present-day California, Eleanor Bennett's death leaves behind a puzzling inheritance for her two children, Byron and Benny: a black cake, made from a family recipe with a long history, and a voice recording. In her message, Eleanor shares a tumultuous story about a headstrong young swimmer who escapes her island home under suspicion of murder. The heartbreaking tale Eleanor unfolds, the secrets she still holds back, and the mystery of a long-lost child challenge everything the siblings thought they knew about their lineage and themselves.

Can Byron and Benny reclaim their once-close relationship, piece together Eleanor's true history, and fulfill her final request to "share the black cake when the time is right"? Will their mother's revelations bring them back together or leave them feeling more lost than ever?

Charmaine Wilkerson's debut novel is a story of how the inheritance of betrayals, secrets, memories, and even names can shape relationships and history. Deeply evocative and beautifully written, Black Cake is an extraordinary journey through the life of a family changed forever by the choices of its matriarch.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "In her beautifully poignant debut novel, Wilkerson explores how secrets kept and stories left untold can "matter even more than the things we do say." Eleanor Bennet's final bequest, an audio recording and a homemade Caribbean black cake stowed in the freezer, puzzles her grieving children, Benny and Byron. The story that emerges upends everything the estranged brother and sister thought they knew about their family and themselves. In 1965, a young woman fleeing an arranged marriage and suspicion of murder disappears into the surf. Cutting all ties, she crosses oceans, reinvents herself, and makes heartbreaking choices to take control of her life and, she hopes, reunite with her first love. Wilkerson uses one Caribbean American family's extraordinary tale to probe universal issues of identity and how the lives we live and the choices we make leave "a trail of potential consequences" that pass down through generations. She is a masterful storyteller. Black Cake's complex plot unfolds in vignettes that alternate among different times, places, and viewpoints, evoking her children's bewilderment as they absorb Eleanor's account. Memorable, fully developed characters ground a story that spans decades and continents. Vivid symbolism and imagery enhance the narrative's "fable-like" tone, as when Byron imagines her mother's black cake recipe as an "incantation calling up a line from her true past."HIGH DEMAND BACKSTORY: Advance raves and the news that a Hulu series is in development with Oprah Winfrey will stoke interest in Wilkerson's assured first novel."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Wilkerson debuts with a shining family saga that stretches from the 1960s Caribbean to present-day Southern California. After septuagenarian Eleanor Bennett dies, her lawyer plays a lengthy message she has recorded for her children Byron and Benny. The siblings have made for uneasy company with each other since a rift grew between them--Byron, the oldest, is laser-focused on his career, while his sister Benny is drifting. They knew their mother as a stern presence and an accomplished swimmer from somewhere in the Caribbean (who was also known to bake a rum and port soaked "black cake" from an old family recipe), but neither is prepared for what they learn from the recording. Eleanor is in fact Coventina "Covey" Lyncook, who was married off to a gangster named Little Man in 1965 by her debt-ridden father. At the wedding, Little Man drops dead, poisoned. Covey runs from the scene and, knowing she will be suspected of murder, swims away from the island. At first shocked by the revelations, Byron and Benny reconcile, and their mother's instructions to share a black cake she'd left in the freezer "when the time is right" take on great poignancy. Wilkerson offers superb descriptions of Covey's homeland, from the tension between those who speak patois and those who believe in the superiority of standard English, to sensual descriptions of food, surfing, and coastal terrain. Readers will adore this highly accomplished effort from a talented new writer. Agent: Madeleine Milburn, Madeleine Milburn Literary. (Feb.)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Brothers and sisters -- Fiction.
Mothers -- Death -- Fiction.
Families -- Fiction.
Publisher New York :2022
Language English
Description 385 pages ; 25 cm
ISBN 9780593358337
0593358333
Other Classic View