Decades after Julia McKenzie Munemo’s father committed suicide, she learned that he made his living writing interracial pornography under pseudonym. She hid the stack of his old paperbacks from her Zimbabwean husband, their mixed-race children, and herself before realizing her obligation to understand her racial legacy.
“The Book Keeper is a fiercely felt memoir about family shame and the transformative power of love even as it’s also an ongoing meditation on privilege and race in twenty-first century America. This is a debut striking in its empathetic imagination, observational acuity, and emotional intelligence.” ~Jim Shepard, author of Like You’d Understand, Anyway, and The Book of Aron
“Munemo has written an extraordinary book: about love, inheritance, race, loss, and revelation. By unpacking the story of her father’s past, she in turns unpacks the story of herself, her husband, and the future of her children. This story, neatly told, stands not only as a multi-generational interrogation into a writer’s unfurling past, but also as a fable about the complexity of race in America.” ~Jaed Coffin, author of Roughhouse Friday
“The Book Keeper is a generous, intimate love story across continents and cultures, as well as an incisive social commentary on America’s racial divide. What, The Book Keeper asks, can racial progress possibly look like in a country where white liberals so willingly put on blinders every day? And how, in these tumultuous times, can a mother of two black boys tell her children they are safe? This is an urgent, crucial inquiry into what it means to mourn and to forgive and to hope. ~Susan Conley, author of The Foremost Good Fortune
“In lucid and unadorned prose, Munemo gives focus to her powerful material, which feels essential to the larger cultural conversation about race in America. In tracing her own journey from reckoning with to ownership of her family’s past, she offers a unique and important perspective that I haven’t seen before in memoir. The Book Keeper does what the best nonfiction does: through a unique and deeply felt personal story, it brings larger cultural and historic threads to light with nuance and resonance.” ~Domenica Ruta, author of With or Without You
Available for pre-order now. Publication date January 14, 2020