Engaging, arresting…. Peyton positions Night Wherever We Go in conversation with contemporary novels that reimagine the expansion of possibilities for Black enslaved people in the American South…. [Night Wherever We Go] asks us to remember that our personal history—acting with whatever power, big or small, we have in our reach—transforms our communities, too.” — Boston Globe
"A haunting evocation of the routine brutalities of slavery that is also a powerful celebration of friendship, community, resilience and rebellion. A hugely impressive debut." — Sarah Waters
"Heart-rending." — Washington Post
"A stunning debut. Peyton’s language is masterful." — Shondaland
"A gorgeous, gripping novel that captures both the infinite tragedies of enslavement and the fierce courage of its victims. As our society grapples still with whether women can make decisions about their reproductive futures, the pain and pleasure depicted here feel even more relevant. Most essential, most relevant, however, is how these women resist. Sold, but not bought." — Washington Independent Review of Books
“A searing debut…. Peyton weaves through the minds and spirits of her large cast of characters with insight and ease…. Alternately suspenseful and poetic, this novel marks the beginning of a promising career.” — Kirkus Reviews
“A powerful and inspired achievement. Tracey Rose Peyton gives voice to the enslaved women of this nation’s past who have, for far too long, had their voices gone unheard in the annals of history. She does them justice and then some. This one is not to be missed.” — Nathan Harris, author of The Sweetness of Water
“Night Wherever We Go is extraordinary: a beautiful book about harrowing things, beautiful because of its understanding of humanity, its astonishing language, and the plain brilliance of its author. I'm not sure I've recovered from the experience of reading it, or ever will, or ever should.” — Elizabeth McCracken, author of The Souvenir Museum
“In finding a completely innovative way to write about Texas, Tracey Rose Peyton has found a wholly innovative way to write about the cost and debt of freedoms in this nation. The prose here is never wieldy, though the ideas and particularly, the explorations of longing while Black are wonderfully layered. Night Wherever We Go has the potential to change how Blacknesses, Texas and the nation are written about forever.” — Kiese Laymon, author of Long Division
“Night Wherever We Go is a tale of epic survival, a song of collective resilience, an intimate exploration of love, friendship and sisterhood in the face of harrowing cruelty and injustice. In lyrical and precise prose, Tracey Rose Peyton evokes an indelible portrait of each woman's complicated desires, hopes and fears. And in spite of the characters' difficult lives, this is a book about joy and transcendence as much as it is about trauma and loss. The complex and varied voices of the women that inhabit Night Wherever We Go make it a haunting, powerful and utterly unforgettable read.” — Rachel Heng, author of Suicide Club
“Powerful…. Peyton has much talent to burn.” — Publishers Weekly
"An evocative work of historical fiction distinguished by its setting and empathetic treatment of its multiple characters.” — Booklist
A searing debut novel that explores the inner lives of a community of enslaved women in Texas in the decade leading up to the Civil War.
Straining under the weight of mounting debts, plantation owners Charles and Lizzie Harlow—called "the Lucys" by the people they enslave because they were the “spawn of Lucifer”—are intent on “breeding” their slaves Junie, Patience, Lulu, Alice, Serah, and Nan. First, Zeke arrives, "trailing behind Mr. Lucy like a shadow," and the women are made to have sex with him. Then there are the half-starved and ashen Isaac and Monroe, to whom the Lucys “give” Patience and Serah as wives. Increasingly desperate, the women discreetly seek out the counsel of the cook Nan for elixirs that promise to weaken virility and cotton root, a natural remedy for getting “caught” with child. The men themselves must face the contempt of the women and the shame of being shuttled from plantation to plantation like little more than bulls or horses with the sole purpose of producing offspring, forbidden to think of the wives and children they had to leave behind. The glimmers of hope offered by true love, solidarity, and the distant promise of emancipation become both solace and weapons, powerful enough to make the women “reckless in thought and deed”—tempting them, at times, to take matters violently into their own hands. As the summer heat builds, slave insurrections are on the rise, and the Lucys become increasingly desperate themselves, coming closer and closer to discovering the women’s secrets. Peyton weaves through the minds and spirits of her large cast of characters with insight and ease. The novel moves deftly between the third person and a collective “we” narrative, revealing the women's intimate interconnectedness and the intersectional interplay of age, race, gender, religion, and social status in the struggle to survive amid the horrors of life on the plantation.
Alternately suspenseful and poetic, this novel marks the beginning of a promising career for Peyton.