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Summary

From award-winning poet Saeed Jones, How We Fight for Our Lives is a stunning coming-of-age memoir written at the crossroads of sex, race and power.

'People don’t just happen,' writes Saeed Jones. 'We sacrifice former versions of ourselves. We sacrifice the people who dared to raise us. The ‘I’ it seems doesn’t exist until we are able to say, "I am no longer yours."'

Haunted and haunting, Jones’ memoir tells the story of a young, black, gay man from the South as he fights to carve out a place for himself, within his family, within his country, within his own hopes, desires, and fears. Through a series of vignettes that chart a course across the American landscape, Jones draws readers into his boyhood and adolescence - into tumultuous relationships with his mother and grandmother, into passing flings with lovers, friends and strangers. 

Each piece builds into a larger examination of race and queerness, power and vulnerability, love and grief: a portrait of what we all do for one another - and to one another - as we fight to become ourselves.

Blending poetry and prose, Jones has developed a style that is equal parts sensual, beautiful and powerful - a voice that’s by turns a river, a blues, and a nightscape set ablaze. How We Fight for Our Lives is a one of a kind memoir and a book that cements Saeed Jones as an essential writer for our time.

©2019 Saeed Jones (P)2019 Simon & Schuster UK

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An Unmissable Voice

A beautiful story, a beautiful man, telling his truth in a sassy yet self-effacing way. The collisions of the religions in his life, the racism and homophobia, it’s all compelling and told with a rare grace. For all the talk about sexual encounters what shines thorough most is his understanding of how his many different identities were shaped in contemporary America, and how awkwardly. The personality he exposes is amplified in his own reading of his prose and I didn’t want it to end.