For Immediate Release:
June 9, 2020—Drum roll please!! It’s launch week for me, Debutante Lisa Braxton. I am the fourth of five Debs to step out onto the ballroom floor! The Talking Drum hits shelves today.
The Talking Drum is about three couples in the 1970s and how they’re affected when an urban redevelopment project takes over an immigrant neighborhood for gentrification. The fictional city of Bellport, Massachusetts, is in decline with an urban redevelopment project on the horizon expected to transform this dying factory town into a thriving economic center. This planned transformation has a profound effect on the residents who live in Bellport as their own personal transformations take place.
Sydney Stallworth steps away from her fellowship and law studies at an elite university to support husband Malachi’s dream of opening a business in the heart of the black community of his hometown, Bellport. For Omar Bassari, an immigrant from Senegal, Bellport is where he will establish his drumming career and the launching pad from which he will spread African culture across the world, while trying to hold onto his marriage. Della Tolliver has built a fragile sanctuary in Bellport for herself, boyfriend Kwamé Rodriguez, and daughter Jasmine, a troubled child prone to nightmares and outbursts.
Tensions rise as the demolition date moves closer, plans for gentrification are laid out, and the pace of suspicious fires picks up. The residents find themselves at odds with a political system manipulating their lives and question the future of their relationships.
The Talking Drum explores intra-racial, class, and cross-cultural tensions, along with the meaning of community and belonging. Examining the profound impact gentrification has on people in many neighborhoods, and the way in which being uprooted affects the fabric of their families, friendships, and emotional well-being, the novel not only focuses on the immigrant experience, but the way in which the immigrant/African American neighborhood interface leads to friction and tension. This book thus provides a springboard to important discussions on race and class differences, on the treatment of immigrants, as well as the government’s relationship and responsibility to society.
Themes of race, class and culture are skillfully woven throughout.
The Talking Drum is an absorbing historical novel about the importance of community in shaping who you are and what you can accomplish.
Stephanie Powell Watts, author of No One is Coming to Save Us, says:
It is a novel about who you love and who becomes your home. A moving and skillful debut.
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- Interview and Book Giveaway with Author Yaffa Santos! - Saturday, August 15, 2020
- What One Book Review Means to Me - Friday, August 14, 2020