Author(s): Bernice L. McFadden
Abeo Kata lives a comfortable, happy life in West Africa as the privileged nine-year-old daughter of a government employee and stay-at-home mother. But when the Katas' idyllic lifestyle takes a turn for the worse, Abeo's father, following his mother's advice, places the girl in a religious shrine, hoping that the sacrifice of his daughter will serve as atonement for the crimes of his ancestors. Unspeakable acts befall Abeo for the fifteen years she is held in the shrine. When she is finally rescued, broken and battered, she must struggle to overcome her past, endure the revelation of family secrets, and learn to trust and love again.
In the tradition of Chris Cleave's Little Bee, this novel is a contemporary story that offers an eye-opening account of the practice of ritual servitude in West Africa. Spanning decades and two continents, Praise Song for the Butterflies will break your heart and then heal it.
A Black Caucus of the American Library Association 2019 Honor title, Fiction
Longlisted for the 2019 Women's Prize for Fiction
"McFadden, writer of great, imaginative novels for years now (including Sugar and Gathering of Waters), is back with one of her best yet. Exploring ritual sacrifice in contemporary West Africa, Praise Song offers a fascinating, painful glimpse into a world beyond America's shores, filled with tragedy and love and hope." --Entertainment Weekly
"Perhaps one of the best books of the year, Praise Song for the Butterflies is a stunning, brief portrait that humanizes the plight of those in ritual servitude. It's a fantastic work from a gifted author." --The Gazette
Included in BookRiot's "22 Upcoming Releases by Authors of Color Featured at BEA"
"McFadden crafts a compassionate, unforgettable story of loss and redemption." --BBC Culture
"Recent favorites [at Mahogany Books in Washington, DC] include...award-winning novelist Bernice L. McFadden's forthcomingPraise Song for the Butterflies, about a nine-year-old West African girl sacrificed into religious servitude." --Vanity Fair
"The novel has a timeless quality; McFadden is a master of taking you to another time and place. In doing so, she raises questions surrounding the nature of memory, what we allow to thrive, and what we determine to execute... McFadden brings the sweeping drama of her earlier works--The Book of Harlan, Glorious, Gathering of Waters-- into this small book, and reminds me of the gentle fierceness of Edwidge Danticat's writing."
--Los Angeles Review of Books
"Praise Song for the Butterflies is written like a fable--one of devastation, but triumph, too. Bernice L. McFadden's novel sheds light on the long practice of trokosi, ritual servitude to priests." --Refinery29