None But the Righteous: A Novel - book cover
  • Publisher : Counterpoint
  • Published : 11 Jan 2022
  • Pages : 240
  • ISBN-10 : 1640094598
  • ISBN-13 : 9781640094598
  • Language : English

None But the Righteous: A Novel

Lyrical, riveting, and haunting from its opening lines, None But the Righteous is an extraordinary debut that signals the arrival of an unforgettable new voice in contemporary fiction

In seventeenth-century Peru, St. Martin de Porres was torn from his body after death. His bones were pillaged as relics, and his spirit was said to inhabit those bones. Four centuries later, amid the havoc of Hurricane Katrina, nineteen-year-old Ham escapes New Orleans with his only valued possession: a pendant handed down from his foster mother, Miss Pearl. There's something about the pendant that has always gripped him, and the curiosity of it has grown into a kind of comfort.
When Ham finally embarks on a fraught journey back home, he seeks the answer to a question he cannot face: Is Miss Pearl still alive? Ham travels from Atlanta to rural Alabama, and from one young woman to another, as he evades the devastation that awaits him in New Orleans. Catching sight of a freedom he's never known, he must reclaim his body and mind from the spirit who watches over him, guides him, and seizes possession of him.

Editorial Reviews

"Its tension is succulent thanks, in part, to the rootlessness of its characters, who are always in motion. Forays into the fantastical come via magic potions, dangerous foods, and blended cultures . . . [a] fluid, musical novel." -Foreword Reviews

"In this stunning debut, James brings together several beautifully drawn characters, each of whom is working to reconcile the tensions between belonging and exile, freedom and entrapment, while also trying to reckon with the ghosts (both literal and figurative) of the past . . . A mesmerizing story told by an impressive and captivating voice." -Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Lyrical and creative . . . Written in atmospheric and imagery-rich prose, None But the Righteous examines where we choose to belong and why." -Booklist

"None but the Righteous is an homage to postcolonial and Southern literature yet a singularly incandescent marvel." -Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, author of The Revisioners and A Kind of Freedom

"At once spiritual and earthly, balancing with deft what is metaphysical and what is flesh, James' None But the Righteous ensnares, haunts, and fulfills that ancient, human need for narrative in carefully chosen language. You'll fall right into this world." -Dantiel W. Moniz, Milk Blood Heat

"In the tradition of Toni Morrison's Beloved, None But the Righteous is a gripping ghost story, a fevered dream of a young man's quest for freedom and belonging in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Chantal James has written a gorgeous page-turner." -Devi S. Laskar, author of The Atlas of Reds and Blues and winner of the Crook's Corner Book Prize

"Masterfully lyrical and captivatingly atmospheric, None But the Righteous is a sweeping portrait of intersecting lives once buffeted by the winds of an apocalyptic hurricane, wandering toward the pull of belonging while simultaneously repulsed by it. Ham's journey to reclaim both his city and his own body is a story of epic proportions told by a fiercely talented writer. Chantal James is one to watch." -Zeyn Joukhadar, author of The Thirty Names of Night and The Map of Salt and Stars

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