Release Date: February 9, 2021
For fans of Tayari Jones and Jacqueline Woodson, a searing, thought-provoking page-turner about race, class, identity, and the pursuit of the American dream.
“A gloriously written, stunning heart scorcher about who we are and what we could be.” —Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You and Cruel Beautiful World
“This is a novel that seeks to discover the beauty of our journeys despite the lies we tell each other and ourselves.” —Rion Amilcar Scott, award-winning author of The World Doesn’t Require You and Insurrections
A promise could betray you.
It’s 2008, and the rise of Barack Obama ushers in a new kind of hope. In Chicago, Ruth Tuttle, an Ivy-League educated Black engineer, is married to a kind and successful man. He’s eager to start a family, but Ruth is uncertain. She has never gotten over the baby she gave birth to—and was forced to abandon—when she was a teenager. She had promised her family she’d never look back, but Ruth knows that to move forward, she must make peace with the past.
Returning home, Ruth discovers the Indiana factory town of her youth is plagued by unemployment, racism, and despair. As she begins digging into the past, she unexpectedly befriends Midnight, a young white boy who is also adrift and looking for connection. Just as Ruth is about to uncover a burning secret her family desperately wants to keep hidden, a traumatic incident strains the town’s already searing racial tensions, sending Ruth and Midnight on a collision course that could upend both their lives.
The Kindest Lie examines the heartbreaking divide between Black and white communities and plumbs the emotional depths of the struggles faced by ordinary Americans in the wake of the financial crisis. Capturing the profound racial injustices and class inequalities roiling society, Nancy Johnson’s debut novel offers an unflinching view of motherhood in contemporary America and the never-ending quest to achieve the American Dream.