Gone Like Yesterday (February 14th, 2023)
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A lyrical debut novel that asks what we owe to our families, what we owe to our ancestors, and what we owe to ourselves. Janelle M. Williams's Gone Like Yesterday employs magical realism to explore the majestic and haunting experience of being a Black woman in today's America.
Gone Like Yesterday follows two Black women--Zahra, a listless college prep coach, and Sammie, a teenage girl and budding activist soon off to college--who are drawn to each other through the songs of gypsy moths. Gypsy moths have been singing the songs of Zahra's ancestors to her for years, so when Zahra realizes that Sammie might be a moth person too, their paths become intertwined.
Then, the unthinkable happens: Zahra's brother, Derrick, goes missing. Derrick has always been different--sensitive and connected to the spiritual world, he has been drifting from Zahra and her family for some time. But this time feels different. Zahra is panicked that he may really be gone for good, lost to her forever.
Zahra can't let that happen. So, she, along with Sammie, embarks on a road trip from New York to Atlanta, Zahra's hometown, in search of Zahra's brother, but also to uncover just what the moths and their ancestors want with them, and what to do about their individual and collective futures.
Sharp and wholly original, Gone Like Yesterday is a novel about family and legacy but also a literary exploration of racial identity, self, and what it means to be found.