In The Two Lives of Sara by Catherine Adel West, out this week from Park Row, readers follow Sara King on a journey from Chicago to Memphis in the 1960s. Sara was first introduced in West’s debut novel, Save Ruby King, to which The Two Lives of Sara is a prequel. Our reviewer Mrudhula M writes that The Two Lives of Sara is “a novel of found family, of joy and heartbreak, and of fear to hope again.” Read the full review below.
In The Two Lives of Sara, Catherine Adel West relates the powerful story of a young single mother in Memphis while threading through Black history and freedom. The novel weaves through grief and oppression in a sharp and elegant way, graceful as it shows the life in 1960s Memphis, a time when the city was still segregated. Sara, the book’s narrator, is a young Black woman, keeping inside her a painful past and carrying her child with her to a new state, for a new life.
West doesn’t mince words, showing life in the 1960s with all the ugly parts, and interlacing beautiful parts of the story between the pain. It is a novel of found family, of joy and heartbreak, and of fear to hope again. Sara finds a home for herself in The Scarlet Poplar, a boardinghouse in Memphis. There, she cares for the boarders,, still hiding the past she tried to run away from in Chicago.