No One Is Coming to Save Us: A Novel
When JJ Ferguson returns to Pinewood, North Carolina, he comes back with new money and a new name. Jay, as he is now called, wants to reclaim the peace he once knew. He’s a lost young man trying to make sense of an often cruel world, and he hopes to do this with Ava, the girl he loved in his adolescence. If the plot to No One Is Coming to Save Us seems familiar, it should. Most readers will recognizes fleeting allusions to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, but to say this debut novel from Stephanie Powell Watts is a modern retelling or revision of Gatsby, arguably the greatest American novel ever written, is an overstatement. And that comparison masks the unique strength of Watts’s novel.
Jay and Ava’s story is only one part of this rich and complex narrative about life not turning out as we might hope. Ava’s husband, Henry, stands as another representation of what can happen to those who seem to have everything in their favor. But it is Ava’s mother, Sylvia, herself disappointed and broken by what has not happened for her, who is the heart of the novel. Her story is one of desperation coupled with the fear of being invisible. These characters move through the racial, social, and political realities of a world at times both hostile and miraculous, much like the world most of us live in.
Ultimately, No One Is Coming to Save Us shouldn’t be read as a modern Gatsby; instead it should be valued for its own merits, for its strength and honesty and clear-eyed look into what home really means.
|Author||Stephanie Powell Watts|
|Page Count||368 pages|
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