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Publisher's Summary

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER 

In her stunning debut, the creator of Black Liturgies weaves stories from three generations of her family alongside contemplative reflections to discover the “necessary rituals” that connect us with our belonging, dignity, and liberation.

“This is the kind of book that makes you different when you’re done.” (Ashley C. Ford, New York Times best-selling author of Somebody’s Daughter)

“Reaches deep beneath the surface of words unspoken, wounds unhealed, and secrets untempered to break them open in order for fresh light to break through.” (Morgan Jerkins, New York Times best-selling author of This Will Be My Undoing and Caul Baby)

“From the womb, we must repeat with regularity that to love ourselves is to survive. I believe that is what my father wanted for me and knew I would so desperately need: a tool for survival, the truth of my dignity named like a mercy new each morning.” 

So writes Cole Arthur Riley in her unforgettable book of stories and reflections on discovering the sacred in her skin. In these deeply transporting passages, Arthur Riley reflects on the stories of her grandmother and father and how they revealed to her an embodied, dignity-affirming spirituality, not only in what they believed, but in the act of living itself. Writing memorably of her own childhood and coming to self, Arthur Riley boldly explores some of the most urgent questions of life and faith: How can spirituality not silence the body, but instead allow it to come alive? How do we honor, lament, and heal from the stories we inherit? How can we find peace in a world overtaken with dislocation, noise, and unrest? In this indelible work of contemplative storytelling, Arthur Riley invites us to descend into our own stories, examine our capacity to rest, wonder, joy, rage, and repair, and find that our humanity is not an enemy to faith but evidence of it.

At once a compelling spiritual meditation, a powerful intergenerational account, and a tender coming-of-age narrative, This Here Flesh speaks potently to anyone who suspects that our stories might have something to say to us.

©2022 Cole Arthur Riley (P)2022 Random House Audio

What listeners say about This Here Flesh

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Must Read

Powerful story telling that felt like poetry as I listened. Excellent narration as well. Everyone should read this!

1 person found this helpful

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Spiritual, poetic, and deeply inspiring!

My understanding has deepened, my heart and mind expanded, and I don’t mean to be blasphemous but this is something I will review again and again in a scriptural manner. It’s that inspiring, and moving to me. I highly recommend listening to it more than one time.

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Incredible book!!!!

A must read. I cried in so many chapters and resonated with all of it! Cole is a gifted writer whose words have pierced my soul and will linger for as long as I have breath. I thank her for writing this…

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Like Salve for these times

Amazing, poetic, a well of wisdom! This book is so dynamic I will need to read it again and again.

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Words for my Experience

The beauty of this book is how it captures a spiritual journey that is not socialized but experienced. This beautifully written and narrated book makes space for more space — and in that space that is created, God, liberation, and spirituality are repeatedly discovered and unveiled.

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Loved everything about this book!!

It’s been a while since I had a book speak to my soul the way this one though. Everything about it is special. The stories pull you right in. I don’t think I have ever read a book that can articulate the human emotions like this has. Well done Cole, never stop writing.

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A Must-Read. A Must.

I have the Audible and text versions. It is a trusted and even sacred text that I revisit often, mostly daily, because it covers so many of the core existential beliefs and more importantly the misbeliefs that can plague and limit us from embodying our true selves. There is so much healing available in this book. So much wisdom and love. Give yourself the gift of this book. Your life will never be the same once you’ve experienced this great work.

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Cole is masterfully contemplative

Cole speaks in a way that made me not only think but also feel deeply. She validates the body and specifically the dreams, aches, lament, joy, and liberation of black bodies. It’s refreshing to stumble across black contemplatives sucubas herself. I highly recommend this book!

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Loved it so much!!

Just wow! Such beauty and profound wisdom and truth in this book. I loved the audiobook so much I’m buying the hard copy to go back and underline and highlight. Hoping this gets picked for a new book club I’m starting at church. It’s so beautiful!! ❤️🥰🫶🏼

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Captivated my soul!

I could not stop listening until I was finised and I am still processing it all. Amazing collection of lived, heard, and observed stories that connects to the core of our existence as black bodied sojourners.