What the Fireflies Knew - by Kai Harris - image 1 of 1
What the Fireflies Knew - by Kai Harris - image 1 of 1
$13.59When purchased online

About this item

Specifications

Dimensions (Overall): 9 Inches (H) x 1 Inches (W) x 6 Inches (D)
Weight: 1 Pounds
Suggested Age: 22 Years and Up
Number of Pages: 288
Genre: Fiction + Literature Genres
Sub-Genre: African American
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Tiny Reparations Books
Author: Kai Harris
Book theme: General
Language: English
Street Date: February 1, 2022
TCIN: 83991430
UPC: 9780593185346
Item Number (DPCI): 059-01-9635
Origin: Made in the USA

Description



Book Synopsis



In the vein of Jesmyn Ward's Salvage the Bones and Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees, a coming-of-age novel told by almost-eleven-year-old Kenyatta Bernice (KB), as she and her sister try to make sense of their new life with their estranged grandfather in the wake of their father's death and their mother's disappearance.

An ode to Black girlhood and adolescence as seen through KB's eyes, What the Fireflies Knew follows KB after her father dies of an overdose and the debts incurred from his addiction cause the loss of the family home in Detroit. Soon thereafter, KB and her teenage sister, Nia, are sent by their overwhelmed mother to live with their estranged grandfather in Lansing, Michigan. Over the course of a single sweltering summer, KB attempts to navigate a world that has turned upside down.

Her father has been labeled a fiend. Her mother's smile no longer reaches her eyes. Her sister, once her best friend, now feels like a stranger. Her grandfather is grumpy and silent. The white kids who live across the street are friendly, but only sometimes. And they're all keeping secrets. As KB vacillates between resentment, abandonment, and loneliness, she is forced to carve out a different identity for herself and find her own voice.

A dazzling and moving novel about family, identity, and race, What the Fireflies Knew poignantly reveals that heartbreaking but necessary component of growing up--the realization that loved ones can be flawed and that the perfect family we all dream of looks different up close.



Review Quotes




Praise for What the Fireflies Knew

"Combining complex characters, writing that instantly penetrates your heart, and the restorative power of nature, What the Fireflies Knew is a luminous reminder that sometimes the only true path to healing is through facing our painful histories, and that we don't have to do it alone. With a debut novel this remarkable, Kai Harris is a writer I hope is around for a long, long time."
--Mateo Askaripour, New York Times bestselling author of Black Buck

What the Fireflies Knew is a fabulous debut and truly a gem of a novel, full of the beauty, tenderness, and poignancy of Black girlhood."
--Deesha Philyaw, author of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies

What the Fireflies Knew is sharp and graceful, poignant in its depiction of a family learning to acknowledge what's been broken in order to piece itself back together. Kai Harris beautifully captures what it feels like to be out of place--in a city, in a body, in a family, in the turmoil of adolescence-- and then just as gracefully reminds us what it can feel like to find your way back to yourself in spite of everything. This book introduces a bold and necessary new writer, generous in her capacity for holding onto hope without erasing trauma.
--Danielle Evans, author of The Office of Historical Corrections and Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self

In this gorgeous and poignant novel, Kai Harris writes a stunningly crafted tale that explores the beauty and hard truths of life, loss, and survival through the lens of an unforgettable narrator. This story of a young black girl navigating the labyrinth of self and family secrets is told in an authentic voice, filled with well observed details and elegant prose. Harris's first novel showcases her gift as a superb storyteller.
--Nicole Dennis-Benn, bestselling author of Patsy and Here Comes the Sun

A story of Black girlhood from a promising new voice in fiction.
--Kirkus Reviews




About the Author



Kai Harris is a writer and educator from Detroit, Michigan, who uses her voice to uplift the Black community through realistic fiction centered on the Black experience. Her work has appeared in Guernica, Kweli Journal, Longform, and the Killens Review, amongst others. In addition to fiction, Kai has published poetry, personal essays, and peer-reviewed academic articles on topics related to Black girlhood and womanhood, the slave narrative genre, motherhood, and Black identity. A graduate of Western Michigan University's PhD program, Kai was the recipient of the university's Gwen Frostic Creative Writing Award in Fiction for her short story, "While We Live." Kai now lives in the Bay Area with her husband, three daughters, and dog Tabasco, where she is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Santa Clara University. Follow Kai on Twitter @authorkaiharris for a healthy dose of #blackgirlmagic. Read more at kaiharriswrites.com.
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Shipping details

Estimated ship dimensions: 0.72 inches length x 6 inches width x 9 inches height
Estimated ship weight: 1.108 pounds
We regret that this item cannot be shipped to PO Boxes.
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