Jamel Brinkley


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HarperCollins Publishers
3 August 2023
ISBN: 9780008538637
240 pages

From the publisher

‘Brinkley’s sentences are daggers’ Raven Leilani, author of Luster

‘Extraordinary … moving, compelling and virtuosic’ Observer

‘A triumph’ Colin Barrett, author of Homesickness

An electric collection of stories set in contemporary New York, from the award-winning author of A Lucky Man and National Book Award finalist, Jamel Brinkley.

What does it mean to take action? To bear witness? What does it cost?

These stories take us into the heart of contemporary New York City and its residents’ lives. We meet children, grandmothers and even ghosts as they strive to connect, to stand up for, and to really see each other. Their relationships shape not only their own futures but those of their families and their city.

In its portraits of families and friendships, Witness enacts its own testimony. Here is a world where fortunes can be made and stolen in a generation, where strangers sometimes show kindness while those we trust—doctors, employers, siblings—too often turn away, where joy comes in snatches.

With prose as upendingly beautiful as it is artfully crafted, Jamel Brinkley offers nothing less than the full scope of life and death and change in the great, unending drama of the city.

‘Exhilarating and impactful … Each story is a gift’ New York Times

‘A dazzling collection by a masterful storyteller’ Yiyun Li, author of The Book of Goose

‘Read everything this man writes, and regard the world anew’ Justin Torres, author of We the Animals

‘Jamel Brinkley is brilliant, the real thing, a revelation’ Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You

‘These are stories of rare beauty and insight, that glitter with humour and hurt, written with lambent clarity and tenderness’ David Hayden, author of Darker With the Lights On

‘There is all the involvedness and complexity of a novel in each story, which makes Witness so abundant and wise. A brilliant writer’ Caoilinn Hughes, author of The Wild Laughter

‘Read Witness and allow yourself the pleasure of seeing the world as Brinkley sees it' Angela Flournoy, author of The Turner House