ABOUT THE BOOK
Set in a struggling suburb of North St. Louis, Bone Broth excavates the social and familial issues that one Black family and their loved ones must navigate in order to survive.
After the passing of their volatile patriarch, Justine and her adult children find themselves within one another’s daily orbit in trying ways.
Justine, the new family matriarch, struggles to connect with her children and refuses to acknowledge the details of her murky past. Raynah, the unruly spitfire social activist, is determined to uncover the truth of that past so that she can move on with her present. Lois, the struggling real estate agent, contends with the reality of white flight while also dealing with the older emotional toll of violently losing her son. And Theo, the public servant, battles with the memory of violence, love lost, and his own sexuality.
Through these linked perspectives, Bone Broth delivers the touchstones of an inequitable society: violence, suppression, and the human capacity to continue in the face of extreme adversity. With clear, cutting, biting prose, Ellis explores how trauma affects family dynamics, how it permeates every aspect of life, and how reckoning and reconciliation require the strength and courage to confront all the broken, jagged memories from the past.
Lyndsey Ellis | Hidden Timber Books | Cover Design: Jade Burel | Trade Paperback | Literary Fiction | Publication Date: May 31, 2021 | Trade Paper: 6×9 | Cover Price: $16.99 | ISBN: 978-1-7365519-0-5 | 274 pages
Lyndsey Ellis digs deep into the history and psyche of St. Louis’s Black community to share the complicated lives of a mother and her three grown children living in the shadow of Michael Brown’s murder. The characters are tender and caustic. They fight one another as families do and hold secrets to their chests like cards in a poker game, afraid someone will call their bluff. Bone Broth is an engaging, thought-provoking read.
—Melanie S. Hatter, Author of Malawi’s Sisters
With a sharp eye for detail that brings every character to bright, shining life, Lyndsey Ellis fearlessly explores the secrets that are a family’s true inheritance. Bone Broth broke my heart and put it back together in even better shape.
—Chris L. Terry, Author of Black Card and Zero Fade
“After reading five pages of Bone Broth, a debut novel by author Lyndsey Ellis, I thought, I know these women–Justine, Bev, and Myrtle. They could have been a dozen of former classmates at my 50th Vashon High School reunion who were still playfully fussing, fighting, and fawning over the good old days in the Pruitt-Igoe housing project. They were ‘among a different breed of naysayers: those who prided themselves on being part of the first batch of blacks to move from the chaos and crime that mostly defined the inner city and settled in one of the safer districts of North St. Louis County.’ One of those districts being Ferguson, Missouri, known for the protests after the tragic death of teenager Michael Brown.
“This novel’s relationships reflect a kaleidoscope of colors and patterns that change a close-knit family and an almost-family over time. Husbands, wives, children, best friends, and lovers struggle to reevaluate long-held beliefs and life decisions. ‘There were things Justine knew she’d had no instruction on—growing up poor, getting married, raising three kids—but it was life; like everyone else, she got by.’
“Ellis ably reveals painful family secrets and generational trauma that unfolds during and between two racially charged periods in St. Louis history. She draws parallels between a mother’s foray into activism in the early 1970s and a daughter’s immersion into grassroots organizing in the Bay Area in the 2000s. After the daughter Raynah’s 20-year absence from her hometown, “She was left fighting to reconcile two pasts, two regions, two worlds.”
—Vivian Gibson, author of The Last Children of Mill Creek
“Lyndsey Ellis’s beautiful debut novel, Bone Broth, is a heartfelt and moving portrait of a family riven by secrets and lies and the weight of history and legacy. Set in a volatile Louisiana, this emotionally rich novel skillfully dives into class and race and desolation and redemption through the siblings Raynah, Theo and Lois, their mother Justine, and their various homes and what and who they see as home. Ellis has a keen eye for the ties that break, and bind, be they family or friendships. Bone Broth is a complicated novel about complicated times and one readers will find unputdownable.”
—Soniah Kamal, author of Unmarriageable
LYNDSEY ELLIS is a St. Louis-born fiction writer, essayist, and cultural worker. With a BA in English from the University of Missouri-Columbia and an MFA in Writing from California College of the Arts in San Francisco, she strives to explore intergenerational trauma, hardship, and struggle. In 2016, she was a recipient of the San Francisco Foundation’s Joseph Henry Jackson Literary Award and in 2018, she received a grant from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund for fiction. Bone Broth is her first novel.