Ta-Nehisi Coates addressed his teenaged son in “Between the World and Me,” his 2015 book written in the form of a letter that explored his feelings about being black in the United States. Now Coates is tackling America’s racial history in a new medium — fiction.
“The Water Dancer” is about Hiram Walker, a young boy who was born into slavery on a Virginia plantation and quickly separated from his mother when she was sold away. After a brush with death by drowning, Hiram learns his early loss gave him a mysterious power. He decides to use that power to escape the plantation where he was raised, the only home he’s ever known, and embark on a risky journey toward freedom in the North.
Ta-Nehisi Coates is a former resident of Prospect Lefferts Gardens. He’s the author of “The Beautiful Struggle,” “We Were Eight Years in Power,” and “Between the World and Me,” which won the National Book Award in 2015.