• Black Is the Body

  • Stories from My Grandmother's Time, My Mother's Time, and Mine
  • By: Emily Bernard
  • Narrated by: Emily Bernard
  • Length: 5 hrs and 55 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (125 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

“Blackness is an art, not a science. It is a paradox: intangible and visceral; a situation and a story. It is the thread that connects these essays, but its significance as an experience emerges randomly, unpredictably.... Race is the story of my life, and therefore black is the body of this book.” 

In these 12 deeply personal, connected essays, Bernard details the experience of growing up Black in the South with a family name inherited from a White man, surviving a random stabbing at a New Haven coffee shop, marrying a White man from the North and bringing him home to her family, adopting two children from Ethiopia, and living and teaching in a primarily White New England college town. Each of these essays sets out to discover a new way of talking about race and of telling the truth as the author has lived it.

"Black Is the Body is one of the most beautiful, elegant memoirs I've ever read. It's about race, it's about womanhood, it's about friendship, it's about a life of the mind, and also a life of the body. But more than anything, it's about love. I can't praise Emily Bernard enough for what she has created in these pages." (Elizabeth Gilbert)

Winner of the Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose

Named a Best Book of the Year by NPR and Kirkus Reviews

One of Maureen Corrigan's 10 Unputdownable Reads of the Year 

©2019 Emily Bernard (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Black Is the Body is one of the most beautiful, elegant memoirs I've ever read. It's about race, it's about womanhood, it's about friendship, it's about a life of the mind, and also a life of the body. But more than anything, it's about love. I can't praise Emily Bernard enough for what she has created in these pages." (Elizabeth Gilbert)

"My very favorite book that I have read so far this year... It’s really life changing. If you get no other book this year, get Black Is the Body by Emily Bernard." (Ann Patchett)

"Of the 12 essays here, there's not one that even comes close to being forgettable. Bernard's language is fresh, poetically compact, and often witty.... Bernard proves herself to be a revelatory storyteller of race in America who can hold her own with some of those great writers she teaches." (Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air)

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What listeners say about Black Is the Body

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Beautifully written

I loved this book. The characters are depicted with depth and emotion. It gave me a real sense of what it may have been like to grow up as a black in a qhite world

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Excellent

Honest and visceral storytelling that after reading has changed me. These stories are riveting, complex and relatable. The writing brings you in and provides the reader space to engage with personal stories of an American life through scenes, geography, family, food, daily routines, the university classroom, emotions, identities and dreams.

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This book is phenomenal

The writing and the stories are breathtaking. I believe it is a masterpiece. it's like talking to a wise best friend who teaches you lessons about love, belonging, race and so much more.

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engaging

I really enjoyed that this was read by the author. it covered so many different topics, but everything fit together and didn't feel disjointed.

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Good read

loved listening to her voice. ...soft and captivating. easy to follow. thank you for sharing your stories and giving us a perspective on how we each perceive our blackness. no matter which part of the world you come from.

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Compelling

Loved the honesty and vulnerability in this memoir by a great writer. Highly recommend it.

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Intimate, lyrical reflections on race, womanhood,

In this beautiful collection of essays, Emily Bernard takes us with her on thoughtful reflections from her time as a student at Yale to teaching African American literature in Vermont, her marriage to a white man, becoming and being the mother of black girls, interracial friendship, home, and eventually a new literary connection with her late mother.

I loved being admitted to this intimate lovingly-written world of becoming and being. Read by the author, the stories felt like a warm visit with a new friend, sharing her stories both specific and universal.

If you're interested in race in America, beautiful prose, or honest and courageous storytelling I highly reccomend.

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A wonderful book of essays

A wonderful, complex and loving look at life, love, family, relationships, home, belonging and racism.

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Black is the body is beautifuly written and read.

it is great to be able to listen to Author Emily Bernard recount her life stories. it ads nuances you otherwise might miss.
Black is the body is beautifuly written and read.

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Each story a facet, personal but illuminating

Each story a facet, personal but illuminating, provoking me to reconsider otherwise unremarkable events in my own life

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Profile Image for Moveazy
  • Moveazy
  • 10-09-20

Insightful

This book was not what I expected to be but was a great listen and has some interesting stories