James McBride
Author and Musician

James McBride

Five-Carat Soul

“A vivid, often funny story collection that examines serious topics like race, war, history, and self-identity—all with a deft hand and a fluid, musical voice.” —Entertainment Weekly

Exciting new fiction from James McBride, the first since his National Book Award–winning novel The Good Lord Bird.
The stories in Five-Carat Soul—none of them ever published before—spring from the place where identity, humanity, and history converge. They’re funny and poignant, insightful and unpredictable, imaginative and authentic—all told with McBride’s unrivaled storytelling skill and meticulous eye for character and detail. McBride explores the ways we learn from the world and the people around us. An antiques dealer discovers that a legendary toy commissioned by Civil War General Robert E. Lee now sits in the home of a black minister in Queens. Five strangers find themselves thrown together and face unexpected judgment. An American president draws inspiration from a conversation he overhears in a stable. And members of The Five-Carat Soul Bottom Bone Band recount stories from their own messy and hilarious lives.
As McBride did in his National Book award-winning The Good Lord Bird and his bestselling The Color of Water, he writes with humor and insight about how we struggle to understand who we are in a world we don’t fully comprehend. The result is a surprising, perceptive, and evocative collection of stories that is also a moving exploration of our human condition.


Current News

National Book Awards announces 2013 fiction longlist

New York Times The Good Lord Bird Review

The Good Lord Bird Video with Chia Messina
James set down to talk about the book:  

One of Five books to look forward to this summer by NPR:  

Publisher's Weekly
"Outrageously funny, sad, and consistently unflattering, McBride puts a human face on a nation at its most divided."- Publisher's Weekly

Ebony Magazine
McBride incorporates history's pertinent details-such as the Harper's Ferry raid-with good ol' Huck Finn-type adventuring that's difficult to put down.
Download Article - Ebony Magazine, August 2013

Essence Magazine
"A fascinating mix of history and mystery."
Download Article - Essence Magazine, August 2013

NY Times
Dowload Article

Historical Novel Society
"...potential to be one of the significant novels of 2013."- Historical Novel Society