Night Wherever We Go: A Novel (Hardcover)
A RECOMMENDED READ FROM: The Washington Post • Atlanta Journal-Constitution • CrimeReads • Library Journal
A gripping, radically intimate debut novel about a group of enslaved women staging a covert rebellion against their owners
On a struggling Texas plantation, six enslaved women slip from their sleeping quarters and gather in the woods under the cover of night. The Lucys—as they call the plantation owners, after Lucifer himself—have decided to turn around the farm’s bleak financial prospects by making the women bear children. They have hired a “stockman” to impregnate them. But the women are determined to protect themselves.
Now each of the six faces a choice. Nan, the doctoring woman, has brought a sack of cotton root clippings that can stave off children when chewed daily. If they all take part, the Lucys may give up and send the stockman away. But a pregnancy for any of them will only encourage the Lucys further. And should their plan be discovered, the consequences will be severe.
Visceral and arresting, Night Wherever We Go illuminates each woman’s individual trials and desires while painting a subversive portrait of collective defiance. Unflinching in her portrayal of America’s gravest injustices, while also deeply attentive to the transcendence, love, and solidarity of women whose interior lives have been underexplored, Tracey Rose Peyton creates a story of unforgettable power.
Tracey Rose Peyton received her MFA from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin. Her short fiction has appeared in Guernica, American Short Fiction, Prairie Schooner, The Best American Short Stories 2021, and other outlets. Night Wherever We Go is her first novel.
“Engaging, arresting…. Peyton positions Night Wherever We Go in conversation with contemporary novels that reimagine the expansion of possibilities for Black enslaved people in the American South…. [Night Wherever We Go] asks us to remember that our personal history—acting with whatever power, big or small, we have in our reach—transforms our communities, too.” — Boston Globe
"Heart-rending." — Washington Post
"A haunting evocation of the routine brutalities of slavery that is also a powerful celebration of friendship, community, resilience and rebellion. A hugely impressive debut." — Sarah Waters
"A gorgeous, gripping novel that captures both the infinite tragedies of enslavement and the fierce courage of its victims. As our society grapples still with whether women can make decisions about their reproductive futures, the pain and pleasure depicted here feel even more relevant. Most essential, most relevant, however, is how these women resist. Sold, but not bought." — Washington Independent Review of Books
“A searing debut…. Peyton weaves through the minds and spirits of her large cast of characters with insight and ease…. Alternately suspenseful and poetic, this novel marks the beginning of a promising career.” — Kirkus Reviews
“A powerful and inspired achievement. Tracey Rose Peyton gives voice to the enslaved women of this nation’s past who have, for far too long, had their voices gone unheard in the annals of history. She does them justice and then some. This one is not to be missed.” — Nathan Harris, author of The Sweetness of Water
“Night Wherever We Go is extraordinary: a beautiful book about harrowing things, beautiful because of its understanding of humanity, its astonishing language, and the plain brilliance of its author. I'm not sure I've recovered from the experience of reading it, or ever will, or ever should.” — Elizabeth McCracken, author of The Souvenir Museum
“In finding a completely innovative way to write about Texas, Tracey Rose Peyton has found a wholly innovative way to write about the cost and debt of freedoms in this nation. The prose here is never wieldy, though the ideas and particularly, the explorations of longing while Black are wonderfully layered. Night Wherever We Go has the potential to change how Blacknesses, Texas and the nation are written about forever.” — Kiese Laymon, author of Long Division
“Night Wherever We Go is a tale of epic survival, a song of collective resilience, an intimate exploration of love, friendship and sisterhood in the face of harrowing cruelty and injustice. In lyrical and precise prose, Tracey Rose Peyton evokes an indelible portrait of each woman's complicated desires, hopes and fears. And in spite of the characters' difficult lives, this is a book about joy and transcendence as much as it is about trauma and loss. The complex and varied voices of the women that inhabit Night Wherever We Go make it a haunting, powerful and utterly unforgettable read.”
— Rachel Heng, author of Suicide Club
“Powerful…. Peyton has much talent to burn.” — Publishers Weekly
"An evocative work of historical fiction distinguished by its setting and empathetic treatment of its multiple characters.” — Booklist