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‘Gloria Naylor is a brilliant word-worker and a breathtaking storyteller. Mama Day is her masterpiece’ TAYARI JONES

The people of Willow Springs have inhabited the island since the time of Sapphira Wade, a ‘true conjure woman’ who could ‘walk through a lightning storm without being touched’ and, as legend has it, murdered the white landowner who was first her master and then her lover. Located between Georgia and South Carolina, but part of neither, Willow Springs makes strange the rest of the world.

The island’s matriarch, Mama Day, has inherited Sapphira’s gifts. When Cocoa, her great niece, arrives from New York with her new husband, her life and soul are in danger from the island’s darker powers, and it is up to Mama Day to save her. A hurricane, jealousy, and tragedy combine to teach Cocoa about the power of love and family. Mama Day is a powerful generational saga, at once tender and suspenseful, overflowing with magic and wisdom.


When you read Mama Day, and surely you will read it, 'surrender' to it. Don't worry about finding the plot. Let the plot find you. The different voices are beautifully realized ... Naylor has a dazzling sense of humour, rich comic observation and that indefinable quality we call 'heart'.
Rita Mae Brown, Los Angeles Times
One is quickly beguiled . . . so gracefully does Naylor fuse together the epic and the naturalistic, the magical and the real
New York Times
Resonates with genuine excitement...a big, strong admirable novel
New York Times Book Review
This is a wonderful novel, full of spirit and sass and wisdom, and completely realized
Washington Post
Gloria Naylor is a brilliant word-worker and a breathtaking story-teller. Mama Day is her masterpiece
Tayari Jones, author of AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE
The novel's strength and passion come through in the rich detail of its voices - of lives lived, boundaries crossed, alliances forged or broken. Naylor creates a story as vivid as the incantatory prose she uses to tell it. We are made to care so much about the inhabitants of Willow Springs - most of all, its diminutive power-broker Mama Day - that one winces when she drops the angel-food cake pan; healers of this stature shouldn't have bad days
Boston Globe
What joy to find a novel that rewrites Prospero as a woman-and an extraordinarily powerful woman at that . . . Mama Day's power is as mysterious as Prospero's, but her motives are clear: protect those she loves, even if they won't listen to her about needing that protection. Told in richly textured language, sexy and scary and embracing of human flaws, Mama Day reimagines The Tempest as a story of matriarchal power.
Johanna Stoberock, LitHub
Irrefutably, Gloria Naylor was one of the greatest novelists who ever lived. Every single one of her works was masterful, crafted with the kind of rare artistic brilliance that places her in extremely limited company. She is likely best known for her National Book Award-winning debut work, The Women of Brewster Place, but that is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Whether the divine Bailey's Cafe, the haunting Linden Hills, or the exquisite Mama Day (one of my favorite novels of all-time), Naylor's skill in weaving together culture, heartbreak, joy, magic, terror, laughter, pain, and love-which is to say, life-is extraordinary. There is something both mundane and cosmic about her writing that captures the human condition in a way that perhaps no other writer did or will. Her work is, for me, a shout, a praise song, a hosanna, a hallelujah, a Black fist in the air; àse! She holds a hallowed place in the canon, and also in hearts, minds, bodies, and spirits. She was one of the blessed ones
Robert Jones, Jr., author of The New York Times bestselling novel, THE PROPHETS