Book summary: Possessing the Secret of Joy

1992 BY ALICE WALKER

From the author the New York Times Book Review calls “a lavishly gifted writer,” this is the searing story of Tashi, a tribal African woman first glimpsed in The Color Purple whose fateful decision to submit to the tsunga’s knife and be genitally mutilated leads to a trauma that informs her life and fatefully alters her existence. Possessing the Secret of Joy, out of print for a number of years, was the first novel to deal with this controversial topic and managed to do so in a manner that Cosmopolitan called “masterful, honorable, and unforgettable storytelling.” The New Press is proud to bring the book back into print with a new preface by the author addressing the book’s initial reception and the changed attitudes toward female genital mutilation that have come about in part because of this book.

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