Reading Cynthia Bond's Ruby, you can't help but feel that one day this book will be considered a staple of our literature, a classic. Lush, deep, momentous, much like the people and landscape it describes, Ruby enchants not just with its powerful tale of lifelong quests and unrelenting love, but also with its exquisite language. It is a treasure of a book, one you won't soon forget.
Pure magic. Every line gleams with vigor and sound and beauty. Ruby somehow manages to contain the darkness of racial conflict and cruelty, the persistence of memory, the physical darkness of the piney woods and strange elemental forces, and weld it together with bright seams of love, loyalty, friendship, laced with the petty comedies of small-town lives. Slow tragedies, sudden light. This stunning debut delivers and delivers and delivers.
Ruby is a harrowing, hallucinatory novel, a love story and a ghost story about one woman's attempt to escape the legacy of violence in a small southern town. Cynthia Bond writes with a dazzling poetry that's part William Faulkner, part Toni Morrison, yet entirely her own. Ruby is encircled by shadows, but incandescent with light
Bond proves to be a powerful literary force, a writer whose unflinching yet lyrical prose is reminiscent of Toni Morrison's.
In Ruby, Bond has created a heroine worthy of the great female protagonists of Toni Morrison...and Zora Neale Hurston... Bond's style of writing is as magical as an East Texas sunrise.
Evocative, affective and accomplished... Bond tells the story of Ruby and Ephram's lives and their relationship with unflinching honesty and a surreal, haunting quality.
Gorgeous... Bond is a gifted writer, powerful and nimble... [I]t's tempting to call up Toni Morrison or Alice Walker or Ntozake Shange. It should be done more as compliment than comparison, though...Bond's is a robustly original voice.
If you love well-written historical fiction and multifaceted grown-up characters, put Ruby at the top of your beach bag... Bond delivers multiple goods with this one.
Cynthia Bond creates a vibrant chorus of voices united by a common struggle... [T]he prose's lyricism and Ruby's interaction with the dead call to mind Beloved... While Bond's characters may sense the inevitability of loss and loneliness, they are also driven by something else, a timid hopefulness that they may find serenity and compassion amid the ghosts who haunt them.
Exquisite, juxtaposing horrific imagery with dreamy evocative lyricism.
Ruby explores the redeeming power of love in the face of horrific trauma... If the truth shall set us free, Ms. Bond shows us, in her story of grace, that love is truth.
[A] powerful, explosive novel. Bond immerses readers in a fully realized world, one scarred by virulent racism and perverted rituals but also redeemed by love
[A] dark and redemptive beauty... Bond's prose is evocative of Alice Walker and Toni Morrison, paying homage to the greats of Southern gothic literature.
An unusual, rare and beautiful novel that is meant to be experienced as much as read.
A stunning debut. Ruby is unforgettable.
Cloaked in authenticity, Ruby is unlike anything else out there right now.
Impeccably crafted... Ruby is undoubtedly the early work of a master storyteller whose literary lyricism is nothing short of pitch perfect.
Bracing....Undeniable....The echoes of Alice Walker and Toni Morrison are clear....A very strong first novel that blends tough realism with the appealing strangeness of a fever dream....
luminous... a love story about pure-hearted patience conquering insurmountable odds. Many will compare Ruby to the work of Toni Morrison or Zora Neale Hurston, as Oprah Winfrey has ... but it may be most apt to compare Bond to Gabriel García Márquez. Ruby is woven with magical realism
Read Ruby by Cynthia Bond... it was exceptional. It was really incredible and very well written. It went into the belly of the beast, and I don't know if I'm fully out of it yet.
Oprah recommended this book to me, and it is astounding. The writer has such a majestic command of language; she catapults everyday words into rare air with lines that sear into your memory. The characters Ruby and Ephraim shimmer with vibrancy - they show the complications of pain and joy, all messily and beautifully together. A total triumph
Ruby is a moving and menacing journey that stays with you long after the final page.
Ruby is Cynthia Bond's debut novel, yet it reads like the work of a master. From the first page, there's an unmistakable narrative voice which carries you forward, leading us from the eponymous, deeply-scarred heroine Ruby to her would-be saviour Ephram Jennings - a man replete with demons of his own - and finally onward to the townspeople of Liberty, a small all-Black East Texas community surrounded by pine woods.
Bond does a fine job of weaving the narrative together, particularly as the novel doesn't assume a traditional linear format... It is wonderful to see debut writing on shortlists for prestigious prizes such as these, and Bond's contribution is outstanding - Ruby is a lyrical and unrelenting portrait of a simply unforgettable new character in fiction.
The way she writes is incredible, and from the right page I was like, this is a writer I need to pay attention to
Ruby is an incredibly moving, magical and menacing read that you will feel like you have experienced long after the final page. Bond looks at sexual and domestic abuse, Satanism and the supernatural, interracial racism, legends and myths, sexuality, family secrets and love. All this based in reality, in fact some of the novel is based on Cynthia Bond's own experiences, with an infusion of magical realism... Ruby is one of those books that will leave you as haunted as its characters. That is where its power lies
It's a really powerful, really emotional story that tips slightly into the fantastical in a really brilliant way... This novel is really skilfully done and the writing in it is absolutely beautiful. I think it's one of the most beautifully written novels in the group of books in the shortlist
It is one of those books that once you've found it, is difficult to let go... It's a beautiful, hard-hitting, unusual tale of a book and one that stays with you long after the last page.
Were I on the Baileys Prize jury, this would be my winner. Bond's prose is sumptuous and poetic at times... The central character, Ruby is a work of art... I loved this book, was sad to finish it, and happily await the next instalment
Ruby is an extraordinary book, one that stops you in your tracks and makes you gasp in horror as you're drawn into her story. Cynthia Bond's debut novel is dark, harrowing and beautifully written... It is at times a very difficult read, a story of violence and sexual abuse, depravity and intense cruelty but also a story about the redemptive power of love
Utterly transfixing, with unforgettable characters, riveting suspense, and breathtaking, luminous prose, Ruby offers an unflinching portrait of man's dark acts and the promise of the redemptive power of love
I found the pain in it to be so raw, angry and honest... The lyricism and the beauty of the writing contrasted with against the darkness and the cruelty of the book... For me it ticks all the boxes in what a prize winner should be: it is beautifully written, it is thought-provoking, it's isn't like anything I've ever read
This is my winner. A story of race and gender set against the backdrop of the spiritualism and small town politics of Liberty, Texas. The soaring, lyrical writing tells a story of cruelty and abuse and it's a heart-wrenching, difficult read at times but there is also magic and hope, and even some humour
Channeling the lyrical phantasmagoria of early Toni Morrison and the sexual and racial brutality of the 20th century east Texas, Cynthia Bond has created a moving and indelible portrait of a fallen woman... Bond traffics in extremely difficult subjects with a grace and bigheartedness that makes for an accomplished, enthralling read.
A beautifully wrought ghost story, a love story, a survival story...[A] wonderful debut.