The House of Plain Truth

Product Details
$17.99  $16.73
Zibby Books
Publish Date
5.43 X 8.19 X 0.94 inches | 0.75 pounds

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About the Author

Donna Hemans is the author of two previous novels, River Woman and Tea By the Sea, which won the Lignum Vitae Una Marson Award. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in Electric Literature, Ms. Magazine, and Crab Orchard Review, among others. She is also the owner of DC Writers Room, a co-working studio for writers based in Washington, DC. Born in Jamaica, she lives in Maryland, and received her undergraduate degree in English and Media Studies from Fordham University and an MFA from American University.


"A literary exploration of grief [and] family schisms. Fractured memories and dreams of the past infuse this unassuming story with a rich and elusive history spanning three countries, and they depict a family that's more orchard than tree. The novel's sedate pacing, which evokes rocking-chair musings on mortality and responsibility, brings a welcome reprieve from stories laden with plot twists and action for the sake of it. Hemans' thoughtful family tale is a balm for readers."
--Kirkus Reviews

"Emotionally honest, The House of Plain Truth is ripe with secrets and sacrifice. Teeming with family drama, and lush descriptions that leapt off the page and rooted me in place. Hemans' writing is lyrical and her characters stayed with me long after the book was over."
--Sadeqa Johnson, author of The House of Eve

"Shifting ideas of home, family and culture collide in this evocative tale of memory and reconciliation. The House of Plain Truth meanders through the Jamaican countryside and one family's troubles in a way that feels unique yet universal in its exploration of migration, broken promises and forgiveness."
--Charmaine Wilkerson, author of Black Cake

"In this book, set primarily in her native Jamaica, Donna Hemans reminds us what a debt the world owes Caribbean people--those who migrate, as well as those who remain to buttress the families left behind. Ours is a story of faith, risk, estrangement, and ultimately, longing, which Hemans evokes through characters who are unforgettable precisely because we seem to be remembering them. Hemans' great triumph is how her prose witnesses history with dignified tenderness and with a clarity which never gets in the reader's way or prescribes what we should feel about the plain truth."
--Celeste Mohammed, author of OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature winner Pleasantview

"The House of Plain Truth is a rich and layered novel. It's not only a compelling family mystery and a moving story of generational healing and reconciliation, but also a profound portrait of the emotional aftermath of voluntary and forced migration. An extraordinary achievement."
--Maisy Card, author of These Ghosts Are Family

"In prose that pulses with the tempo, climate, and luxuriant beauty of Jamaica, Donna Hemans chronicles the tragic consequences of intergenerational migration and estrangement, colonial brutality, and the chaos of revolution on one Jamaican family. The House of Plain Truth is a heart-wrenching novel of loss and grief with profound resonance in today's migratory world."
--Aimee Liu, author of Glorious Boy

"A luminous tale of one Jamaican family's legacy, with vivid historical insights into early 20th century Caribbean life. Very few Caribbean writers today render ordinary Caribbean people with the extraordinary acuity of Hemans. The House of Plain Truth stands out not only for its keen and rich development of the inner lives of its characters, but also for its thematic echoing of a family's past and present grief, as it attempts to right its future."
--Lauren Francis-Sharma, author of Book of the Little Axe

"Donna Hemans tends to her words with the patience of a gardener deep in roses. The quality of Ms. Hemans' pacing is so telling--tenacious and epic--that the reader will remain transfixed from the very first to the very lovely end."
--Tara Stringfellow, author of Memphis

"There are some novels so moving they demand a place in your memory and heart long after you have read them and you may become an evangelist pressing copies on friends. The House of Plain Truth (Zibby Books) is one such book. The writer's name may not yet be familiar to you but the voice of this author, Donna Hemans is eager to be heard and she has plenty of plain truth to tell in lush, lyrical prose...The House of Plain Truth yields its secrets slowly with many shocking revelations as the story begins to unfold in the compelling and original voice of the author."