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Doing Life With Hope - A Patchwork Journey - Novel by Ingrid Landis-Davis

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This is a rich and layered tale about legacy, service, creativity, loss and love, and about the importance of connection—to history, to family, to place, to community. The author explores how kin pass down legacies of integrity, joy, and strength and, yes, sometimes sorrow. This sweeping story of a Black family from the South focuses on resilience and love. Engaging characters keep a complex multigenerational plot moving to embody hundreds of years of American and Black history. It is a parable of how shared events can ripple across generations. This novel weaves together personal histories and the legacies that came before us with an expansive story about family, hidden stories and life’s journey.

The protagonist’s rendering of our world, whether the exterior landscapes of the mountains of California or the rich cultural portraits of the interior of Hawaiian homes, it truly takes you on a journey. Rooted in specific American places and historical tragedies, she braids stories of the struggles and perseverance of her African-American family in distant centuries with those of more recent eras with remarkable dexterity. Her characters are thoroughly lyrical, kahu hanai, and dazzling with the light of new insights into problems as old as the nation, yet still relevant for today.

Her characters show the many ways that the past resurfaces in the present as unfinished business. The author’s previous novel, Short Side of the Triangle, is the prequel to this story but it is a tale that stands on its own. This is a uniquely American story that all need to read—it holds a piece of each of us.