She Would Be King

She Would Be King

A Novel

eBook - 2018
Average Rating:
Rate this:
A novel of exhilarating range, magical realism, and history—a dazzling retelling of Liberia’s formation Wayétu Moore’s powerful debut novel, She Would Be King, reimagines the dramatic story of Liberia’s early years through three unforgettable characters who share an uncommon bond. Gbessa, exiled from the West African village of Lai, is starved, bitten by a viper, and left for dead, but still she survives. June Dey, raised on a plantation in Virginia, hides his unusual strength until a confrontation with the overseer forces him to flee. Norman Aragon, the child of a white British colonizer and a Maroon slave from Jamaica, can fade from sight when the earth calls him. When the three meet in the settlement of Monrovia, their gifts help them salvage the tense relationship between the African American settlers and the indigenous tribes, as a new nation forms around them. Moore’s intermingling of history and magical realism finds voice not just in these three characters but also in the fleeting spirit of the wind, who embodies an ancient wisdom. “If she was not a woman,” the wind says of Gbessa, “she would be king.” In this vibrant story of the African diaspora, Moore, a talented storyteller and a daring writer, illuminates with radiant and exacting prose the tumultuous roots of a country inextricably bound to the United States. She Would Be King is a novel of profound depth set against a vast canvas and a transcendent debut from a major new author.
Publisher: [S.l.]: Graywolf Press, 2018
ISBN: 9781555978686
Characteristics: 336 p
Additional Contributors: cloudLibrary

Related Resources


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jan 27, 2020

She Would Be King by Wayetu Moore immediately sucks you in as Moore weaves together the stories of characters who stick with you long after you put the book down. I highly recommend adding this to your book list.

Jan 07, 2019

"If she was not a woman, she would be king."
Impressive debut novel from Wayetu Moore, which joins a growing list of novels either set in Africa and/or written by African writers; see "Freshwater," "Children of Blood and Bone," "Speak No Evil," "Half of a Yellow Sun," and "North of Dawn." "She Would be King" is a striking blend of historical realism and fable (I hesitate to use the overused term magical realism.) that has a contemporary resonance. Moore has also founded a library in Monrovia, Liberia, where much of the novel is set.

Oct 07, 2018

Amazing! I could not put this story down. I loved how the author captured different aspects of the black experience during this time as it relates to slavery. Some born into captivity, others born free but bound by the restraints of societal oppression and others who found their freedom and willed to hold on. I loved how the author brought all these stories together and I am excited to read more work from her.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further


Subject Headings


Find it at STPL

To Top