Maud Martha

Maud Martha

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Author: Gwendolyn Brooks

Publisher: Faber

Paperback

Published May 2022

The stunning only novel by the celebrated poet and first Black author to win a Pulitzer Prize, introduced by Margo Jefferson.

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.