“Sometimes after I've read a great book by an author, I judge. When I picked up a copy of James McBride's new collection of stories, Five-Carat Soul, I was prepared to be disappointed; how could he top The Good Lord Bird? Was I ever surprised, in the best way possible! These stories have all the magnificent qualities of his National Book Award-winning novel: quirky, poignant, and hilarious characters amid myriad situations in life, and humanity at its most human presented in beautiful writing. A couple of multi-story combinations read like novellas, and satisfied my craving to know more about the most interesting of the characters. McBride has set the bar high once again.”
— Mamie Potter, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC
Winter 2018 Reading Group Indie Next List
“These stories have a beating heart. With present voices and urgent pleas, James McBride dissects the dynamics of power and station. Each story is a keen call, an examination of who and where we are and how we got there. Whether we are young black boys, old Jewish men, little girls at the gates of the afterlife, lions, or the wind, McBride is writing breath and blood and visceral life into our stories.”
— Anne Hensley, Bookbug, Kalamazoo, MI
One of The New York Times' 100 Notable Books of 2017
“A pinball machine zinging with sharp dialogue, breathtaking plot twists and naughty humor... McBride at his brave and joyous best.” —New York Times Book Review
Exciting new fiction from James McBride, the first since his National Book Award–winning novel The Good Lord Bird.
The stories in Five-Carat Soul—none of them ever published before—spring from the place where identity, humanity, and history converge. They’re funny and poignant, insightful and unpredictable, imaginative and authentic—all told with McBride’s unrivaled storytelling skill and meticulous eye for character and detail. McBride explores the ways we learn from the world and the people around us. An antiques dealer discovers that a legendary toy commissioned by Civil War General Robert E. Lee now sits in the home of a black minister in Queens. Five strangers find themselves thrown together and face unexpected judgment. An American president draws inspiration from a conversation he overhears in a stable. And members of The Five-Carat Soul Bottom Bone Band recount stories from their own messy and hilarious lives.
As McBride did in his National Book award-winning The Good Lord Bird and his bestselling The Color of Water, he writes with humor and insight about how we struggle to understand who we are in a world we don’t fully comprehend. The result is a surprising, perceptive, and evocative collection of stories that is also a moving exploration of our human condition.
About the Author
James McBride is an accomplished musician and author of the National Book Award–winning The Good Lord Bird, the #1 bestselling American classic The Color of Water, and the bestsellers Song Yet Sung and Miracle at St. Anna. He is also the author of Kill ’Em and Leave, a James Brown biography. A recipient of the National Humanities Medal in 2016, McBride is a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University.