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WINNER OF THE 2019 KIRKUS PRIZE IN NONFICTION
One of the most anticipated books of Fall 2019—as selected by O, The Oprah Magazine; Marie Claire; Entertainment Weekly; Time; The Millions; Refinery29; Good Housekeeping; and many more.
“A moving, bracingly honest memoir that reads like fevered poetry.” —THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
“Jones’s voice and sensibility are so distinct that he turns one of the oldest of literary genres inside out and upside down.” —NPR’S FRESH AIR
“An astonishing, unparalleled memoir…A rhapsody in the truest sense of the word.” —ROXANE GAY
“Every single living half-grown and grown-up body needs to read this book.” —JACQUELINE WOODSON
“People don’t just happen,” writes Saeed Jones. “We sacrifice former versions of ourselves. We sacrifice the people who dared to raise us. The ‘I’ it seems doesn’t exist until we are able to say, ‘I am no longer yours.’”
Haunted and haunting, How We Fight for Our Lives is a stunning coming-of-age memoir. Jones tells the story of a young, black, gay man from the South as he fights to carve out a place for himself, within his family, within his country, within his own hopes, desires, and fears. Through a series of vignettes that chart a course across the American landscape, Jones draws readers into his boyhood and adolescence—into tumultuous relationships with his family, into passing flings with lovers, friends, and strangers. Each piece builds into a larger examination of race and queerness, power and vulnerability, love and grief: a portrait of what we all do for one another—and to one another—as we fight to become ourselves.
An award-winning poet, Jones has developed a style that’s as beautiful as it is powerful—a voice that’s by turns a river, a blues, and a nightscape set ablaze. How We Fight for Our Lives is a one-of-a-kind memoir and a book that cements Saeed Jones as an essential writer for our time.