A breathtaking debut about one unforgettable Southern Black family, seen through the eyes of its youngest daughter as she comes of age in the 1990s.
“A triumph . . . Redwood Court is storytelling at its best: tender, vivid, and richly complicated.”—Jacqueline Woodson, New York Times bestselling author of Red at the Bone
“Mika, you sit at our feet all these hours and days, hearing us tell our tales. You have all these stories inside you: all the stories everyone in our family knows and all the stories everyone in our family tells. You write ’em in your books and show everyone who we are.”
So begins award-winning poet DéLana R. A. Dameron’s debut novel, Redwood Court. The baby of the family, Mika Tabor spends much of her time in the care of loved ones, listening to their stories and witnessing their struggles. On Redwood Court, the cul-de-sac in the all-Black working-class suburb of Columbia, South Carolina, where her grandparents live, Mika learns important lessons from the people who raise her: her exhausted parents, who work long hours at multiple jobs while still making sure their kids experience the adventure of family vacations; her older sister, who in a house filled with Motown would rather listen to Alanis Morrisette; her retired grandparents, children of Jim Crow, who realized their own vision of success when they bought their house on the Court in the 1960s, imagining it filled with future generations; and the many neighbors who hold tight to the community they’ve built, committed to fostering joy and love in an America so insistent on seeing Black people stumble and fall.
With visceral clarity and powerful prose, Dameron reveals the devastation of being made to feel invisible and the transformative power of being seen. Redwood Court is a celebration of extraordinary, ordinary people striving to achieve their own American dreams.
About the Author
DéLana R. A. Dameron is an artist whose primary medium is storytelling. She is a graduate of New York University’s MFA program in poetry and holds a BA degree in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her debut poetry collection, How God Ends Us, was selected by Elizabeth Alexander for the South Carolina Poetry Book Prize, and her second collection, Weary Kingdom, was chosen by Nikky Finney for the Palmetto Poetry Series. Dameron is also the founder of Saloma Acres, an equestrian and cultural space in her hometown in South Carolina, where she resides.
“A triumph of a debut, Redwood Court is storytelling at its best: tender, vivid, and richly complicated.”—Jacqueline Woodson, New York Times bestselling author of Red at the Bone
“A blueprint for writing about complicated, nuanced people and places with dignity and grace . . . DéLana R. A. Dameron’s relentless love for Columbia, South Carolina, is palpable, and her exquisite storytelling brings us a story of lineage and legacy from unforgettable characters who grab your heart and make you laugh, weep, and hope with them, and for them.”—Renée Watson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Piecing Me Together
“A generously transportive novel, one that thoughtfully renders not only each of its characters but also the nuances of its geographies . . . The language within it echoes, feels familiar and warm. This book carried me to a joyful elsewhere.”—Hanif Abdurraqib, author of National Book Award finalist A Little Devil in America
“A beautiful exploration of a family putting down roots despite the world being against them, and choosing to love one another—the broken parts and the whole—with every breath in their lungs and every beat of their enormous, powerful hearts . . . I found this family’s story deeply moving.”—Ann Napolitano, New York Times bestselling author of Hello Beautiful
“DéLana R. A. Dameron expertly weaves threads of grace, grit, and grief into a tapestry that captures the beauty of not just one particular family but family in general. This novel is a heartrending celebration of the ties that bind, and a poetic one at that.”—Christine Pride, co-author of We Are Not Like Them
“Redwood Court is a beautiful and riveting novel of generational reckoning. DéLana Dameron offers with tenderness and a lyrical sensitivity, an insider’s insight into the “big love” of the abundantly rich black southern life of tribe, community, and family.”—Kwame Dawes, author of UnHistory with John Kinsella