The Prophets


Product Details

$27.00  $25.11
G.P. Putnam's Sons
Publish Date
6.25 X 9.25 X 1.3 inches | 1.37 pounds

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About the Author

Robert Jones, Jr., is the New York Times-bestselling author of The Prophets, which was a finalist for the 2021 National Book Award for Fiction. He has written for numerous publications, including The New York Times, Essence, and The Paris Review. He is the creator and curator of the social-justice, social-media community Son of Baldwin, which has over 290,000 followers across platforms.


A #1 Indie Next Pick

One of:
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"[A] scintillating portrait of Black queerness and a bleak account of slavery in the antebellum South, captured in Jones' lyrical yet incisive prose." -TIME

"A striking debut...Exceptional storytelling...There is no minor character in The Prophets, which delivers a dazzling gallery of unforgettable portraits....And by highlighting lives over plantation life--the humanity of the slaves over the inhumanity of slavery--the narrative remains centered on a Blackness with an imagination that doesn't need whiteness in order to exist, breathe or even be free." --Los Angeles Times

"Jones may be best known as the blogger "Son of Baldwin." His extraordinary debut, with its sinuous, multivoiced narrative, will change that." -The Washington Post

"A polyphonic novel, with exactingly rendered characters, about the love between two men enslaved on a Mississippi plantation." -Vanity Fair

A brutal and beautiful love story between two enslaved men on a Mississippi plantation, a tale of rage and grace, of refuge among the ruins." -O, the Oprah Magazine

"In this powerful novel about a Deep South plantation, enslaved Isaiah and Samuel share a private, abiding love that's a refuge from the daily brutality they endure--and that has consequences for everyone around them. The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr. is an original, heartbreaking testament to love, and to the supremacy of good over evil." -Real Simple

"[A] bewitching literary debut...Jones' strength lies in his ability to build interior worlds so imaginative and lush that it would be dreamy if it weren't such a nightmare for the enslaved people tethered to it....[An] important new work and an integral addition to this period's literary canon alongside works such as Charles R. Johnson's Middle Passage and Marlon James' The Book of Night Women." -Atlanta Journal Constitution

"The Prophets heralds the arrival of a monumental talent in Robert Jones, Jr., whose debut novel has the vibrating power of a thunder clap and the tender intimacy of a secret whispered by a loved one in the darkest night....Though Jones, Jr. is unflinching in his portrayal of the evils of white supremacy and fanaticism, he threads his novels with shimmering strands of hope, of heroism, and of reminders of how humanity has persevered even in the most inhumane of times." -Refinery29

"This beautifully written debut novel--and likely award magnet--is a love story about two enslaved men, Isaiah and Samuel, whose devotion to each other leads to trouble on a brutally run Mississippi plantation." -AARP

"Kaleidoscopic...Anchored by the love story of two young men, this lyrical story evokes a vast spectrum of emotion and creates an epic that feels epic in scope, but also like each chapter is its own private universe." -Northern Virginia Magazine

"An epic tale of Black queerness...With The Prophets, it is clear [Jones] is following in James Baldwin's literary footsteps....Magnificent." -Hey Alma

"Powerful and beautiful...The lyricism of The Prophets will recall the prose of James Baldwin. The strong cadences are equal to those in Faulkner's Light in August. Sometimes the utterances in the short interpolated chapters seem as orphic as those in Thus Spake Zarathustra. If my comparisons seem excessive, they are rivaled only by Jones's own pages and pages of acknowledgments. It seems it takes a village to make a masterpiece." -Publishers Weekly (starred Signature review by Edmund White)

"Robert Jones Jr.'s remarkable first novel, The Prophets, accomplishes the exceptional literary feat of being at once an intimate, poetic love story and a sweeping, detailed and excruciating portrait of life on a Mississippi plantation....Though this is his first book, Jones is already a master stylist, writing gorgeous, lyrical and readable prose about some of the ugliest things that human beings feel and do to one another. Sometimes the prose reads like scripture. At other times, it's poetry...[A] beautifully wrought, exceptionally accomplished queer love story about two men finding extraordinary connection in the most hostile and difficult of circumstances. This debut will be savored and remembered." -BookPage (starred review)

"Brims with so much confidence and artful flourish that it's hard to believe it's Jones's first book. Following a line of esteemed authors, he explores the story of enslavement in America and makes it his own....Jones's expertly drawn characters have depth and purpose, and the writing is beautiful despite the subject matter. A work that will resonate with those moved by Charles Johnson's Middle Passage and Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad." -Library Journal (starred review)

Exquisite...Jones conveys powerful truths with well-chosen words in spare prose....A masterfully told story that will haunt readres from beginning to end. -Booklist (starred review)

"An ambitious, imaginative, and important tale of Black queerness through history." -Kirkus Reviews

"How devastating and glorious this is. Epic in its scale, intimate in its force, and lyrical in its beauty. The Prophets shakes right down to the bone what the American novel is, should do, and can be. That shuffling sound you hear is Morrison, Baldwin, and Angelou whooping and hollering both in pride, and wonder." -Marlon James, author of Black Leopard, Red Wolf

"What a rare marvel this book is. The Prophets fashions an epic so rich in erudition, wisdom, clarity, and power, so full of hard-earned yet too-brief joys, that it reaffirms for me literature's place as both balm and scalpel for the mind and soul. You can feel the decades of thinking embedded not only in these sentences but in how they question and build a world shamefully amputated from textbooks. Rarely is a book this finely wrought, the lives and histories it holds so tenderly felt, and rendered unforgettably true." -Ocean Vuong, author of On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous

"The Prophets is easily the most superb tutorial in writing and loving I have ever read. I'm convinced Morrison, Baldwin, and Bambara sat around sipping wine one night, talking about the day we'd read an offering like The Prophets. Robert Jones, Jr., is a once-in-a-generation cultural worker whose art thankfully will be imitated for generations." -Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy: An American Memoir

"I've loved the writing of Robert Jones, Jr., for years, and The Prophets is an absolute triumph, a symphonic evocation of the heights and depths of pain, joy, and love." -R.O. Kwon, author of The Incendiaries

"In The Prophets, Robert Jones, Jr.'s lens is at once epic and microscopic, equally capable of evoking historical crises and interpersonal ones. Painfully harsh and painfully tender, this inventive, kaleidoscopic love story is a marvel." -Helen Phillips, author of The Need