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a novel

Some provocations to consider while reading pages 279 to the conclusion of The Prophets...

1. So much happens in the last 1/3 of this novel! Perhaps one of the biggest discussion points: why does Samual kill Timothy? What drives his decision?

2. Perhaps one of the next most substantial discussion points for the closing of this novel: what are we to make of its closing? Does Isaiah see Samuel again, in an afterlife? Does he survive? What does the closing chapter of Isaiah's story (Isaiah) tell us about the relationship between Samuel and Isaiah, and what impact we are left with, at the end of this novel?

3. This novel ends with a coda from the "chorus" we've heard from throughout the work. How does this last chapter (New Covenant) frame our closing experience of this work? How does it perhaps put the work in conversation with the landscape of Black queer life today?

4. This novel opens with the line, "You do not yet know us." It closes with a chapter that notes, "You know who we are now. So now you know who you are." What does this novel tell us about memory, about the past and its relationship to the present? As Isaiah notes, early on, time can go missing whenever and wherever it pleases in this world and it is often difficult to retrieve (p. 13). How might this insight inform our understandings of public memory, even today?

5. As we close the novel, we return to our ongoing question: this story is told from the perspective of the enslaved and the slaver alike. What unique voice or affect has this afforded us, as we have experienced this story and spent time with these characters?

Sit down and write your impressions of this book, and your experience of reading it, when you finish. How did it impact and affect you, once concluded? What surprised you? What questions and meditations remain with you, immediately upon its end?
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