All of the books we have read so far, sans Americana because I don’t want to pass judgment on that just yet, have been primarily about family.
Beloved is about a family that has been through hell and back. Sethe has been through slavery, loses her love, has her child taken away from her, murders a different child of hers, and remains haunted by these events for years and years after the fact. The book is about the relationship between Sethe and her dead daughter, Beloved, and her alive daughter, Denver, and how/if they can be a family.
The Color Purple is about Celie and the terrible (and not so terrible) people in her life. It’s about sexism, racism, sexuality, and the ability to face the world even after horrible events. But most of all, it’s about Celie, her sister Nettie, and their relationship. The sisters’ bond transcends time and distance and lies, bringing them back together again by the end.
Silver Sparrow is about two families tied together by the same man. The book is about the relationship between the two sisters, between the two wives, between the husband and his wives, and between the father and his daughters. This book looks at this family from every possible angle, showing that family doesn’t always have one set definition and that familial love doesn’t always have to be unconditional.
Daughters of the Dust isn’t a novel. But it is about family. The people on the island are all bound by a familial bond, purely because they are inhabitants of the island together. There are feuds, disputes, rejections, and false claims of ownership. The movie is about how far family will really go for one another.
As I said before, I don’t want to pass a judgment on Americana just yet. However, if one of its major themes turns out to be ‘family’, I won’t be too surprised.