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My Monticello  By  cover art

My Monticello

By: Jocelyn Nicole Johnson
Narrated by: Aja Naomi King,January LaVoy,Landon Woodson,LeVar Burton,Ngozi Anyanwu,Tomiwa Edun
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Publisher's Summary

In a daring and fierce debut work of fiction - the likes of which comes along once in a generation - Virginia’s landscapes, emblems, and Thomas Jefferson’s historic plantation set the stage for a cast of unforgettable characters fighting for their right to exist in America.

A young woman descended from Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings driven from her neighborhood by a White militia. A university professor studying racism by conducting a secret social experiment on his own son. A single mother desperate to buy her first home even as the world hurtles toward catastrophe. Each fighting to survive in America.

Tough-minded, vulnerable, and brave, Jocelyn Nicole Johnson’s precisely imagined debut explores burdened inheritances and extraordinary pursuits of belonging. Set in the near future, the eponymous novella, "My Monticello", tells of a diverse group of Charlottesville neighbors fleeing violent White supremacists. Led by Da’Naisha, a young Black descendant of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, they seek refuge in Jefferson’s historic plantation home in a desperate attempt to outlive the long-foretold racial and environmental unravelling within the nation.

In “Control Negro”, hailed by Roxane Gay as “one hell of story”, a university professor devotes himself to the study of racism and the development of ACMs (average American Caucasian males) by clinically observing his own son from birth in order to “painstakingly mark the route of this Black child, too, one whom I could prove was so strikingly decent and true that America could not find fault in him unless we as a nation had projected it there”. Johnson’s characters all seek out home as a place and an internal state, whether in the form of a Nigerian widower who immigrates to a meager existence in the city of Alexandria, finding himself adrift; a young mixed-race woman who adopts a new tongue and name to escape the landscapes of rural Virginia and her family; or a single mother who seeks salvation through “Buying a House Ahead of the Apocalypse”.

United by these characters’ relentless struggles against reality and fate, My Monticello is a formidable collection that bears witness to this country’s legacies and announces the arrival of a wildly original new voice in American fiction.

"A group of talented narrators deliver these short stories set in Virginia, which focus on the lives of African Americans." (AudioFile Earphone Award Winner)

A Macmillan Audio production from Henry Holt and Company

©2021 Jocelyn Nicole Johnson (P)2021 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

2021, Christian Science Monitor Best Books of the Year

2021, National Book Critics Circle Award - Nominee

2021, Time Magazine Best Books of the Year

2021, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Guide to the 100 Best Books of the Year

2022, L.A. Times Book Prize - Finalist

2021, New York Times Book Review Notable Books of the Year

2021, NPR Best Book of the Year

2021, Washington Post Best Books of the Year

2021, NYPL Best Books of the Year

2021, Kirkus Reviews Best Books of the Year

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What listeners say about My Monticello

Average Customer Ratings
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Loved it!

The story kept me interested and wanting more. So sad that it reflects our current struggles though. As a resident of Charlottesville I loved the accurate account of the area too. The narrator was fantastic!

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This book is complete dog poo

If you like books about fictional racism you might semi enjoy it. But, if you don’t like to read about boring characters, dirt bag characters, and weird writing that doesn’t make any sense, dont read this book.

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Read from a review on NPR, was very excited...

Not what I expected. I was wondering why I was listening, waiting for a climax or a place where I would feel hooked and ready to keep reading...that moment never came.
Skilled narration though. I enjoyed the voices and tones, the familiarity with the subject matter and characters.

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Speechless

This collection of stories by Johnson were incredible, bringing in different aspects of inter-sectionality and creating characters so vivid that readers are convinced they are real. The short stories were great and the novella was very interesting. I was not a big fan of the ending of the novella which is why I gave the story four stars instead of five. The ending left me wanting more and sad that the story was so quick to end. It’s a great piece of work that I think will be remembered for years to come. The oral performance was magnificent and the voice actor especially for My Monticello did incredibly well. I definitely recommend this for anyone even slightly interested in racial issues, speculative fiction, romance, and history. Great work!

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absolutely phenomenal

this is the most beautiful story by the author and the most incredible performance by Asian Naomi King. the only thing I would ask is that there would be a sequel ♥️🖤🤍🤎. PLEASE

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Sad but Good

Voice acting is great. The book is sadly realistic, bleak, and very thought provoking.

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Disappointing

Wanted to like this but just couldn’t get into the story. Character narration was disjointed, over the top “acting,” and distracted from the story.

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A Must Listen

Each story in My Monticello is a gem. Jarring and beautiful and true, Jocelyn Nicole Johnson’s words take you into the lives and then the inner lives of her characters with expert storytelling. The novella My Monticello is one you won’t want to miss.

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a beautiful new voice

Just a beautiful collection of stories. The quality of narration is perhaps the best selection I have listened to.

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Poignant

What happens if we let hate prevail. But against hope we hope that the good in mankind will prevail. Beautiful writing. Looking forward to the Netflix adaptation.