Twelve Gates to the City A Novel

Tommy Lee Tyson

Daniel Black

St. Martin's Griffin



Trade Paperback

352 Pages



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In Twelve Gates to the City, the sequel to Black's acclaimed debut, They Tell Me of a Home, Sister assumes the voice of the narrator, speaking from the spirit realm, telling her brother TL things he could have never known about their family. She constructs the story as a series of spiritual revelations, exposing to readers both who she was in the years of TL's absence and how every event in his life was an orchestration for his return.

TL in the meantime is back in Swamp Creek, to stay this time, but he's still haunted by his sister's death. His decision to become the Schoolmaster is the only thing he's sure about, and his impact upon the students becomes palpable. But he still doesn't know what happened to Sister. As he searches for ultimate truth, he discovers the secrets and beauty of Swamp Creek.

Twelve Gates to the City is a novel about spiritual revelation, and communal healing, ushered in by one who finally realizes that his gifts were bestowed upon him, not for his own glory, but for the transformation of his people.


Praise for Twelve Gates to the City

"With lush and dreamy detail, Daniel Black tells the story of a bright young man coming home—in the deepest sense of the word. Disarmingly honest and irresistibly earnest, this courageous novel expands the meaning of family and community."—Lucy Jane Bledsoe, author of The Big Bang Symphony

"We already know that literacy is essential to keeping storytelling alive in our communities, but this stunning and singular novel shows how to do it in all beauty. As the characters discover, bits of history we may find shameful and not worth telling can often be critical for a new generation trying to unlock its truth. By plumbing the quirks of human nature, Twelve Gates to the City makes that journey a transformative experience. You will not be able to put it down."—Daniel Allen Cox, author of Basement of Wolves

"Daniel Black has established himself as a most prolific wwriter and a natural storyteller. With Twelve Gates to the City, he weaves a tale filled with characters who are spiritual and folksy and distinctively Southern."—Nathan McCall, author of Them: A Novel

"Not since Zora Neale Hurston have we had a writer who could capture the musicality, complexity, and humor of black Southern storytelling. Daniel Black not only continues that legacy with Twelve Gates, he also raises the bar."—E. Patrick Johnson, author of Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South

"Elements of magical realism . . . mixed with black folkloric tradition are described with conviction and passion. Black's personal connection to the material gives a hard-won reconciliation genuine emotional impact."—Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt


Standing at the edge of the road, where the brown scorched grass confronted the hot, black asphalt, TL looked around in disbelief, just as he'd done a week earlier. He didn't understand the implications of his actions, but he...

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  • Daniel Black

  • Daniel Omotosho Black was raised in Blackwell, Arkansas and now teaches at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia. He earned the Ph.D. in African American Studies from Temple University then returned to Clark Atlanta as a professor with hopes of inspiring young black minds to believe in themselves. His heart's desire is to write literature which celebrates the African American presence in America and teaches the world how to be more human. He is the author of Perfect Peace, They Tell Me of a Home and The Sacred Place.

  • Daniel Black
    Daniel Black