Unconfessed Buy from other retailers

Publication Date: Jan 23, 2024

368 pp


List Price US: $16.99

ISBN: 978-1-63542-427-0

Trim Size: 5.49 x 8.19 x 1.05 in.


List Price US: $12.99

ISBN: 978-1-63542-500-0


A Novel

“Christiansë is able to create an enveloping air of mystery in her slow revelations of the specific nature of Sila’s crime and punishment. This mastery of suspenseful plotting shows in both the present action and the flashbacks…The pages of Unconfessed are full of powerful images of an institution capable of engendering horrendous evil; yet it is one that cannot entirely defeat hope and love.” —Uzodinma Iweala, New York Times Book Review

“Christiansë’s novel isn’t just a stunningly intimate, heart-wrenching history of slave life in Africa. Her protagonist’s furious yearning for freedom (‘Wishes are sometimes just stories that have nowhere to go’) becomes a haunting meditation on love, loss and the stories we choose to tell in order to survive. Gorgeous and tragic, Unconfessed ultimately reveals a confession almost too terrible to bear and impossible to forget.” —People

“[A] beautifully written historical novel.” —Ms. Magazine

“A gorgeous, devastating song of freedom that will inevitably be compared to Toni Morrison’s Beloved. But it deserves to stand on its own.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Impossible to put down, this work deserves a place beside such classics as Toni Morrison’s Beloved and Edward P. Jones’s The Known World. Highly recommended.” —Library Journal (starred review)

“Poet Christiansë (Castaway), born in apartheid-era South Africa and now living in New York City, channels the torturous history of South African slavery in her debut novel.” —Publishers Weekly

“Little has been written about what it was like to be a slave in South Africa under the early white settlers. This debut novel tells it through the first-person, present-tense narrative of Sila, once a slave, now a prisoner on Robben Island off Cape Town in the 1820s…the history is authentic, and Sila’s brave, desperate voice reveals the vicious brutality as well as surprising discoveries of love and friendship. Readers of Toni Morrison’s classic Beloved will recognize the story of a mother driven to save her children at any cost.” —Booklist

“[Unconfessed] is a compelling story and a remarkable book.” —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“[An] evocative novel is spun from the protagonist’s memory, which reveals the sad and powerful story of the life of a slave woman in the South African outback in the early 1800s.” —Ebony Magazine

“From the first ominous sentence to the last, echoing line, Yvette Christiansë has brought into being a compulsively readable novel, the gripping tale of a nineteenth-century slave woman imprisoned on Robben Island in South Africa. Richly layered and uncompromising, this mesmerizing tale of a woman’s life from her childhood abduction in Mozambique to her travails in the South African outback in the early 1800s is hypnotically and convincingly told. The main character, Sila van den Kaap, is inspired by actual court records, and Christiansë has given her both the strength and a unique voice to tell her own story. “The true power of a book is whether it lingers in the mind after a reader goes on to other things, and Sila’s story will stay with me for a very long time.” —Lalita Tademy, author of Cane River and Red River

Unconfessed is the story of Sila, a slavewoman who cannot be owned, who finds and loses her freedom but saves herself through the telling of her fearsome tale. With the shards of Sila’s broken life, Yvette Christiansë powerfully evokes a for-gotten world unsurpassed in its savagery and stark beauty.” —Anne Landsman, author of The Devil’s Chimney

“I am overwhelmed—Sila van den Kaap will forever haunt the southern African landscape (in a powerful countervoice to mythical Adamastor). Yvette Christiansë made a new language: a slave woman is no longer the Imagined Other, but simply herself, and through her, from now on, other women.” —Antjie Krog, author of Country of My Skull

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