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Publisher's Summary

Introduced by Margo Jefferson, this is a miniature wonder of a novel by the celebrated poet and first Black author to win a Pulitzer Prize, published in Britain for the very first time.

What, what, am I to do with all of this life?

Maud Martha Brown is a little girl growing up on the South Side of 1940s Chicago. Amidst the crumbling taverns and overgrown yards, she dreams: of New York, romance, her future. She admires dandelions, learns to drink coffee, falls in love, decorates her kitchenette, visits the Jungly Hovel, guts a chicken, buys hats, gives birth. But her lighter-skinned husband has dreams, too: of the Foxy Cats Club, other women, war. And the 'scraps of baffled hate'—a certain word from a saleswoman, that visit to the cinema, the cruelty of a department store Santa Claus—are always there.

Written in 1953 but never published in Britain, Maud Martha is a poetic collage of happenings that forms an extraordinary portrait of an ordinary life: one lived with wisdom, humour, protest, rage, dignity and joy.

©2022 Gwendolyn Brooks (P)2022 Faber Audio

Critic Reviews

"Such a wonderful book. Utterly unique, exquisitely crafted and quietly powerful. I loved it and want everyone to read this lost literary treasure." (Bernardine Evaristo)

"The quotidian rises to an exquisite portraiture of Black womanhood in the hands of one of America's most foundational writers." (Claudia Rankine)

"Maud Martha reveals the poetry, power and splendour of an ordinary life." (Tayari Jones)

What listeners say about Maud Martha

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