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Esi Edugyan Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Second Life of Samuel Tyne (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
Half-Blood Blues (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Washington Black (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Dreaming of Elsewhere (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
Out of the Sun: On Art, Race, and the Future (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Point In Time Collection Books

Alison's Conviction (By: Thomas Keneally) (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
Ash Wednesday (By: Paula McLain) (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
We Are Bone and Earth (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
Naomi's Gift (By: Martha Hall Kelly) (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Wild Rose (By: Fiona Davis) (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
Landing (By: Olivia Hawker) (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
Mother Swamp (By: Jesmyn Ward) (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Esi Edyugan is a literary fiction author from Alberta, Canada. She is the daughter of Ghanaian parents that moved to Canada when she was still a baby. She made her fiction writing debut writing short stories that would be published in anthologies before she published her debut novel “The Second Life of Samuel Tyne” in 2004. The bestselling novel would make the shortlist for the Wright/Hurston Legacy Award. Edyugan then published “Half Blood Blues”, her second novel that told the story of a mixed race jazz band in Second World War Berlin and Paris. Esi’s second novel made the shortlist for the Literary Award for Fiction by the Canadian Governor General, Trust Fiction Prize by the Rogers Writers’ Trust and also made the shortlist for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction. She is also the author of “Dreaming of Elsewhere,” a non fiction work that she published in 2014. She has also been a creative writing professor at the University of Victoria and Johns Hopkins University.

Edyugan grew up in Calgary, the daughter of Ghanaian immigrants that had met in California. Her father had gone to Stanfrod before moving to Edmonton Alberta. During the 1980s, it was a town that did not have much racial diversity. While the black population in Canada is currently at about 3%, it was smaller during the 1980s and hence he always felt very conspicuous going about his activities in town. There were many small incidents and it could be very hard and hence this is why Esi Edyugan is always looking to write the stories of persons that may not necessarily be part of mainstream society. She writes about people in a strange moment of history or about outliers, which means she is often looking for the most marginalized among the marginalized. As for why she writes in mlae perspectives, she believes it is to achieve the authentic voice which she cannot do without distancing herself from the characters. As for her influences, she cites “The Invention of Nature” by Alexander von Humboldt the German naturalist, “The Age of Wonder” by Richard Holmes and “Bury the Chains” by Adam Hothschild.

Edyugan included echoes of her parents’ experience as immigrants in “The Second Life of Samuel Tyne,” her fiction debut. According to Booklist the novel is a haunting and beautiful rendering of family obligations and personal longing. Even though her debut novel was a success, she had difficulty getting anything else published. Esi then decided to apply and was accepted for a writing fellowship in Stuttgart Germany. It was while she was doing the fellowship that she began writing “Half Blood Blues” , her second novel. The novel was named on the list of best books of the year by the Oprah Magazine and won the Scotiabank Giller Prize among several other nominations. However, it was with “Washington Black” her third novel that she made it big, becoming a finalist for the Man Booker Prize and the Giller Prize. She currently lives with her poet and novelist husband and children in Victoria, British Columbia.

Esi Edyugan’s “The Second Life of Samuel Tyne” tells the story of a man named Samuel Tyne that in 1955 immigrated from Ghana then known as the Gold Coast. He headed to the UK to attend Oxford and then moved to Canada to live with his uncle who was almost like a father to him. In going to Canada, he left behind the hard life and culture of his home country behind as he looked forward to accomplishing great things. In the nation of immigrants, he would have the opportunity to follow his dreams or so he thought. He soon realized that his expectations may have been too high as five years after setting foot in Canada he was a lowly paid economic forecaster for the Calgary government. It is a dead end and stiflingly bureaucratic job and his days were made unbearable by lifeless co-workers and petty managerial types. Things get even worse when he is informed of the death of his uncle Jacob. While they had grown apart over the years, the man had raised him as his own son and he is saddened by the news. The only silver lining was that he was the heir to an old mansion in Aster, Calgary, an idyllic small town.

“Half Blood Blues” by Esi Edyugan is a novel that feels like a combination of Amadeus and Cabaret with a dash Atonement. The story follows the Hot Time Swingers jazz band that were on the verge of making it big musically until the Second World War broke out, shattering their dreams. The narrator is Sid Griffiths who is very passionate about music which seemingly comes out of every pore in his body. His passion for music soon drives him and Chip, his childhood friend to leave Baltimore and set up shop in Burgeoning, Germany. It is a country where jazz has been increasingly becoming very popular. But once the Nazis come to power, they are forced to go a little underground even though for Sid leaving would be impossible. They had hooked up with a young prodigy named Hieronymus Falk that infuriates and inspires Sid with his exceptional talents. He cannot help but protect him but also subtly undermines him until he disappears never to be seen again.

Esi Edyugan’s “Washington Black” is the story of eleven year old field slave Washington Black. He has never known any other life apart from working in the sugar plantation in Barbados where he was born. When the eccentric brother to his master selects him to be his personal servant, he is terrified of what fate has in store for him. But Christopher Wilde is an inventor, naturalist, scientist, explorer and best of all an abolitionist. He introduces Washington to new advancements in science and technology such as flying and telephony. Working for the man, he comes to realize that people seemingly separated by a deep chasm could see each other as human rather than owner and chattel. He begins to think that even if he was born a slave, he can have a life of meaning and dignity. When there is a murder and Washington is supected of the death, Chris is ready to do everything in his power to save him. What follows is an interesting story of their flight across the US before they finally end up in the Arctic in a remote outpost. Left all alone, Washington now needs to invent a new life that will make him into an international citizen. From the sultry plantations of Barbados to the iced landscapes of the North, it is a story of redemption, betrayal and love in the pursuit of freedom.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Esi Edugyan

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