The Water Dancer (Oprah's Book Club) - Ta-Nehisi Coates

The Water Dancer (Oprah's Book Club)

By Ta-Nehisi Coates

  • Release Date: 2019-09-24
  • Genre: African American
4 Score: 4 (From 2,191 Ratings)


For every Oprah’s Book Club pick sold, Apple will make a contribution to the American Library Association to support local libraries.

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

“Nearly every paragraph is laced through with dense, gorgeously evocative descriptions of a vanished world and steeped in its own vivid vocabulary.”—Entertainment Weekly

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.

Advance praise for The Water Dancer

“In prose that sings and imagination that soars, Coates further cements himself as one of this generation’s most important writers, tackling one of America’s oldest and darkest periods with grace and inventiveness. This is bold, dazzling, and not to be missed.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Coates brings his considerable talent for racial and social analysis to his debut novel, which captures the brutality of slavery and explores the underlying truth that slaveholders could not dehumanize the enslaved without also dehumanizing themselves. Beautifully written, this is a deeply and soulfully imagined look at slavery and human aspirations.”—Booklist (starred review)


  • Overall a Great book

    By alexxb133
    The author brings to life, through his words, what it was like in that time period, to be enslaved, to be a part of the Underground, and to fight for freedom.
  • Tasked and the Quality…Good read!

    By Diva_material
    Ta-Nehisi Coates is a brilliant writer and he takes you a historical journey in the antebellum south. Hiram Walker tells the story of a being a slave in a different narrative than most historical fiction. Hiram discovers special talents that unlock his memory hidden deep in his mind. Because of this talent, Hiram's life is forever changed and unleashes hatred for someone he revered. The book is fictional; it does extract some worthy history as well. Great read and Joe Morton does a fabulous job on the audiobook.
  • The Water Dancer

    By SandSandCee
    The author did an amazing job. It evoked such emotion and imagination. The story was powerful and descriptive. I wanted to keep reading but then it ended.
  • Hi

    By jasonjdhshsh
    I loved it
  • Cultural ties to Africa

    By Kaylahannah
    Fantastic book that had me thinking of Toni Morrison’s ‘Beloved’ from the beginning. I was most impressed with the cultural ties to Africa, the motherland, that he wove into the story.
  • Excellent read

    By (>^_^)>$<(^_^<)
    Incredible story telling. The style of writing literally makes you feel as if you are transformed to the time and place.
  • Outstanding

    By MissElectra
    A must read! I enjoyed every word, I actually switched between reading the actual book & listening to the audiobook, which, btw, Joe Morton is absolutely the best!
  • Tackles tough subjects from the civil war era and lets them read like a fantasy novel.

    By Oddities1991
    I felt like the truth of Slavery in America was presented well in this novel and it gave a voice to those often over looked. It is an important novel and inspired me to keep up with Oprah’s new book club for as long as it’s run.
  • The Water Dancer

    By SisterSha
    The best written book of the year. Although it is nonfiction, it depicts real events that keep your attention throughout all chapters. A true history of past events to foster memories for meeting future challenges in life.
  • Conduction

    By Stanislav1992
    I really liked the book, especially the mystic aspect of it.