Sanderia Faye’s Mourner’s Bench has received praise ranging from “With Mourner’s Bench, Sanderia Faye announces herself as a bold, at times intoxicating, original voice in American fiction. This is a stunning debut” (by Dennis Lehane, author of Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone and Shutter Island) to “[A]n absorbing meditation on the meaning of religion in a small town as well as a keen-eyed perspective on the way one African-American community encountered the civil rights movement. An astute coming-of-age tale set against an all-too-relevant background” (by Kirkus Review). Mourner’s Bench explores religion, civil rights, voting rights, feminism and family dynamics.
…the book succeeds at dramatizing an essential era in American history and is a welcome addition to civil rights literature.
…the thing I remember most was Sanderia’s chapter from this novel. Her young protagonist Sarah is so beautifully brought to life; we feel the Arkansas summer heat, the struggles within her family, her religious yearnings. As the civil rights movement and school integration come to her town, Sarah guides us through an emotional landscape of change and growth. This debut novel is assured and confidant and the window it offers into our shared history is unique.