Juneteenth: A Novel

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From Ralph Ellison, author of the classic novel Invisible Man, the long-awaited second great narrative—with a new preface by National Book Award-winning author Charles Johnson and an updated introduction by Ellison’s literary executor John F. Callahan.

Here is the master of American vernacular—the preacher’s hyperbole and the politician’s rhetoric, the rhythms of jazz and gospel and ordinary speech—at the height of his powers, telling a powerful, evocative tale of a prodigal of the twentieth century. 

“Tell me what happened while there’s still time,” demands the dying senator Adam Sunraider to the Reverend A. Z. Hickman, the itinerant Negro preacher whom he calls Daddy Hickman. As a young man, Sunraider was Bliss, an orphan taken in by Hickman and raised to be a preacher like himself. His history encompasses camp meetings where he became the risen Lazarus to inspire the faithful; the more ordinary joys of Southern boyhood; bucolic days as a filmmaker; lovemaking with a young woman in a field in the Oklahoma sun. And behind it all lies a mystery: how did this chosen child become the man who would deny everything to achieve his goals?

With an updated introduction and additional notes by John F. Callahan, who first compiled Juneteenth out of thousands of manuscript pages in 1999, and a new introduction by National Book Award-winning author Charles R. Johnson, this brilliantly crafted, moving, and wise novel is the work of an American master.

Series Overview: NATIONAL BESTSELLER: Juneteenth was a national bestseller in hardcover and has since sold over 40k copies through Vintage.

BACKLIST STAR: The Vintage edition of Invisible Man has sold nearly 2 million copies, with average yearly sales of nearly 60k.

HOLIDAY TIE-IN: With widespread recognition of the Juneteenth holiday across the country, this title is sure to reach new audiences in years to come.

NEW MATERIAL: John Callahan, Ellison’s literary executor, will expand and update his material, and Charles Johnson will similarly expand and update his introduction.