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A Novel


The gifted author of the acclaimed memoir The Prisoner’s Wife delivers a deeply penetrating work—an emotionally shattering first novel that explores the perils of silence and illuminates the fragile complexity of the mother-daughter bond.

On a winter night in Brooklyn, Aya Rivers, a vibrant nineteen-year-old black girl, is shot by a white police officer in a case of mistaken identity. Her mother, Miriam, a rigid and guarded woman, rushes to the hospital. As Miriam desperately waits at Aya’s bedside, she falls back into memories of her own youth, when her life took a series of tragic turns as she struggled for independence and dealt with the end of her relationship with Aya’s father. But as Miriam’s recollections of love and regret descend upon her, this woman who has spent nearly every day of her life in an emotional prison finds that her wounds slowly give way to healing and a tentative hopefulness.

With the lyrical economy of poetry, Asha Bandele tells a powerful story that boldly confronts timely and troubling issues. Daughter is an unforgettable portrait of one extraordinary woman and her journey—from secrecy to openness, from the silence of isolation to the beauty of connection.

This version of the ebook contains an updated introduction by the author and a very special survival guide for today’s activists and advocates against police violence, including the founders and members of Black Lives Matter, and Michelle Alexander, Harry Belafonte, Susan L. Taylor, Marc Lamont Hill, journalists Esther Armah and Kirsten West Savali, and Kadiatou Diallo.

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Asha Bandele served as features editor and writer for Essence magazine, and is currently a Revson Fellow at Columbia University. She is the author of the memoir The Prisoner's Wife and a collection of poetry. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her daughter.

Kimberly Elise, O, The Oprah Magazine My oldest daughter and I...had the same reaction; we think it's the best book we've read in a long time....This story is compelling and powerful and meaningful and keeps you thinking.

Edwidge Danticat, author of Breath, Eyes, Memory and the Dew Breaker A wonderful first novel about the very complex ties that bind mothers and daughters in pain, the inevitable sacrifices that redefine love, passion, and commitment. asha bandele proves here that she can do it all: poetry, memoir, fiction. And much like Asha's other work, Daughter will move and transform you.

Essence This lyrical writer gives us another penetrating look at the endurance of love under harsh circumstances.

The Washington Post A provocative meditation...Bandele's imagery is spare and effective...the kind of storytelling that resurrects lost family history.

More books from this author: Asha Bandele