cover image Dream Country

Dream Country

Shannon Gibney. Dutton, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-7352-3167-2

This expansive tale, composed of interwoven stories, features members of a family tree that spans five generations and two continents, united in their sense of displacement and longing for a homeland where they can thrive. Alternating between the United States and Liberia, Gibney (See No Color) captures moments of wrenching decision-making in her characters’ lives. The opening story, set in 2008 in a Minnesota community roiled by ethnic tensions between Liberians and African-Americans, features drug-dealing teenager Kollie, whose parents return him to Liberia to learn to “be a good boy there again.” In the second story, set in 1926 Liberia, 18-year-old Togor flees brutal Congo soldiers. The third story follows Yasmin and her family as they move from 1827 Norfolk, Va., to Monrovia, Liberia, to escape slavery and establish a home. The final stories circle back to Kollie’s immediate family—concluding with a chapter devoted to his queer younger sister, Angel, in 2018 Minneapolis. With riveting, lyrical prose, Gibney’s accomplished novel explores universal themes of home, family, power struggles, and endurance while demonstrating the liberating power of storytelling. Ages 14–up. (Sept.)