In ‘The Water Dancer,’ Ta-Nehisi Coates imagines a magical means to freedom

By | 2019-09-26 | including 1 item |
The best writers possess the enchanting, irresistible power to take the reader somewhere else. Ta-Nehisi Coates imagines the furthest reach of that power as a means to transcend borders and bondage in “The Water Dancer,” a spellbinding look at the impact of slavery that uses meticulously researched history and hard-won magic to further illuminate this nation’s original sin. For Coates, whose epistolary quasi-memoir “Between the World and Me” won a National Book Award in 2015, this trip to the past was foreshadowed in his vividly drawn examination of what it means to be Black in today’s United States. “America understands itself as God’s handiwork,” he writes in “Between the World and Me,” which is structured as a letter to his teenage son, “but the black body is the clearest evidence that America is the work of men.”