Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Knee-Deep in Wonder

Knee-Deep in Wonder

A Novel

April Reynolds

Metropolitan Books




A dazzling first novel about four generations of fear and longing in the deep South

"Who're your people, girl?" It's the song of the South, the big question, persistent and unforgiving. Helene Strickland, daughter of Lafayette County, Arkansas, and lately of the Northeast, doesn't have an answer. Instead, she has memories riddled with half-truths, stories heard in fits and starts, a family history from a family that doesn't know its own past.

In the steamy August of 1976, Helene returns home for her aunt's funeral determined to learn the truth, but her probing yields more questions than answers: Why did her grandmother, Liberty, a cotton picker turned saloon owner, have no name until she was fourteen? Why does Queen Ester, Helene's mother, dress like a child, talk to no one, and refuse to see her own daughter? And who was Chess, a man with a terror of water, a man like a honey trap who drew the women and then destroyed them?

In a mesmerizing narrative, April Reynolds seamlessly weaves past and present, intricate flashbacks and interlaced stories to produce an epic novel of one family maimed by the deepest wounds of history. Rich with legend, poetry, and historic events, Knee-Deep in Wonder captures the complex humanity of black Southern life.

Hurston/Wright LEGACY Award - Finalist


From Knee Deep in Wonder:

Sweets was a drifter, twenty years old with no luggage or steady job. By 1914, he had traveled from Tennessee to as far as Oklahoma and Arizona, claiming to have taught the great Bill Pickett everything he...


Praise for Knee-Deep in Wonder

Knee-Deep in Wonder is beautiful, just beautiful. April Reynolds is a true star, with wisdom and courage to burn.” —Junot Diaz, author of Drown

“Echoes of Faulkner, Morrison, and McCullers.” —Library Journal

“An intriguing exploration of the nature of memory, the burdens of motherhood and history, and the universal, bittersweet longing for home.” —The Washington Post

“A wondrous debut, a soulful, luxuriant riff on loss and love. Like the best of the blues, this novel has chops and its music lingers, long after the last articulated notes.” —Oscar Hijuelos, author of A Simple Habana Melody

“April Reynolds is a natural-born storyteller, a gifted writer of lyrical prose, and a maker of indelible characters. Like a fine jazz musician she takes the old-time songs and reinvents them in haunting melodies, fresh, heartbreaking, alive. Bold and talented, she is a most welcome sight on the horizon of new writers.” —Randall Kenan, author of A Visitation of Spirits

About the author

April Reynolds

April Reynolds teaches philosophy and creative writing at New York University and lives in New York City. Knee-Deep in Wonder, her first novel, received a Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation Award for unpublished work.

April Reynolds

April Reynolds

From the Publisher

Metropolitan Books

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