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Swift River

Swift River

A sweeping family saga about the complicated bond between mothers and daughters, the disappearance of a father, and the long-hidden history of a declining New England mill town.

It’s the summer of 1987 in Swift River, and Diamond Newberry is learning how to drive. Ever since her Pop disappeared seven years ago, she and her mother hitchhike everywhere they go.

But that’s not the only reason Diamond stands out: she’s teased relentlessly about her weight, and since Pop’s been gone, she is the only Black person in all of Swift River. This summer, Ma is determined to declare Pop legally dead so that they can collect his life insurance money, get their house back from the bank, and finally move on.

But when Diamond receives a letter from a relative she’s never met, key elements of Pop’s life are uncovered, and she is introduced to two generations of African American Newberry women, whose lives span the 20th century and reveal a much larger picture of prejudice and abandonment, of love and devotion.

As pieces of their shared past become clearer, Diamond gains a sense of her place in the world and in her family. But how will what she’s learned of the past change her future?

A story of first friendships, family secrets, and finding the courage to let go, Swift River is a sensational debut by Essie Chambers about how history shapes us and heralds the arrival of a major new literary talent.

Book Details

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publish Date: June 4, 2024
ISBN: 9781668027912
Language: English

About the Author

Essie Chambers earned her MFA in creative writing from Columbia University and has received fellowships from the MacDowell Vermont Studio Center, and Baldwin for the Arts.

A former film and television executive, she was a producer on the documentary Descendant, which was released by the Obamas’ Higher Ground production company and Netflix in 2022. Swift River is her debut novel.

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