“An ambitious, imaginative, and important tale of Black queerness through history.”
Isaiah was Samuel's, and Samuel was Isaiah's. That was the way it was since the beginning, and the way it was to be until the end. In the barn, they tended to the animals, but also to each other, transforming the hollowed-out shed into a place of human refuge, a source of intimacy and hope in a world ruled by vicious masters. But when an older man--a fellow slave--seeks to gain favor by preaching the master's gospel on the plantation, the enslaved begin to turn on their own. Isaiah and Samuel's love, which was once so simple, is seen as sinful and a clear danger to the plantation's harmony.
With a lyricism reminiscent of Toni Morrison, Robert Jones, Jr., fiercely summons the voices of slaver and enslaved alike, from Isaiah and Samuel to the calculating slave master to the long line of women that surround them, women who have carried the soul of the plantation on their shoulders.
As tensions build and the weight of centuries--of ancestors and future generations to come--culminates in a climactic reckoning, The Prophets masterfully reveals the pain and suffering of inheritance but is also shot through with hope, beauty, and truth, portraying the enormous, heroic power of love.
“The Prophets is easily the most superb tutorial in writing and loving I have ever read. I’m convinced Morrison, Baldwin, and Bambara sat around sipping wine one night, talking about the day we’d read an offering like The Prophets. Robert Jones, Jr., is a once-in-a-generation cultural worker whose art thankfully will be imitated for generations.”
―Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy: An American Memoir
Robert Jones, Jr. is a writer from New York City. He received his B.F.A. in creative writing and M.F.A. in fiction from Brooklyn College. He has written for numerous publications, including THE NEW YORK TIMES, ESSENCE, and THE PARIS REVIEW. He is the creator and curator of the social justice social media community Son of Baldwin. Jones was recently featured in T MAGAZINE’s cover story “Black Male Writers of Our Time.” His debut novel, The Prophets, will be released on January 5, 2021, in North America and the United Kingdom; January 12, 2021, in Australia and New Zealand; February 2021 in South Africa, France, and Spain in fall 2021; and in 2022 in Israel, Turkey, Germany, and Italy.