Join Loyalty Bookstores on Tuesday, November 21st at 7 PM ET for a live and in-person meet & greet happy hour with author Ayana Mathis to celebrate the recent release of The Unsettled! We are so excited!!

This is event is taking place at our Petworth location—please RSVP below. Drinks and light snacks will be provided. Masks are strongly encouraged when not eating or drinking. You can email Loyalty's events team at events@loyaltybookstores.com with any questions.


The New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice  From the best-selling author of The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, a searing multi-generational novel—set in the 1980s in racially and politically turbulent Philadelphia and in the tiny town of Bonaparte, Alabama—about a mother fighting for her sanity and survival

"[A] powerful book.” —Marilynne Robinson, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Gilead • "Emotionally propulsive" – Oprah Daily • "Showcases Ayana Mathis's grace on the page, as writer, as storyteller. A book to be read and re-read." – Jesmyn Ward, author of Let Us Descend

From the moment Ava Carson and her ten-year-old son, Toussaint, arrive at the Glenn Avenue family shelter in Philadelphia 1985, Ava is already plotting a way out. She is repulsed by the shelter's squalid conditions: their cockroach-infested room, the barely edible food, and the shifty night security guard. She is determined to rescue her son from the perils and indignities of that place, and to save herself from the complicated past that led them there.

Ava has been estranged from her own mother, Dutchess, since she left her Alabama home as a young woman barely out of her teens. Despite their estrangement and the thousand miles between them, mother and daughter are deeply entwined, but Ava can't forgive her sharp-tounged, larger than life mother whose intractability and bouts of debilitating despair brought young Ava to the outer reaches of neglect and hunger.

Ava wants to love her son differently, better. But when Toussaint’s father, Cass, reappears, she is swept off course by his charisma, and the intoxicating power of his radical vision to destroy systems of racial injustice and bring about a bold new way of communal living. 

Meanwhile, in Alabama, Dutchess struggles to keep Bonaparte, once a beacon of Black freedom and self-determination, in the hands of its last five Black residents—families whose lives have been rooted in this stretch of land for generations—and away from rapidly encroaching white developers. She fights against the erasure of Bonaparte's venerable history and the loss of the land itself, which she has so arduously preserved as Ava's inheritance.

As Ava becomes more enmeshed with Cass, Toussaint senses the danger simmering all around him—his well-intentioned but erratic mother; the intense, volatile figure of his father who drives his fledgling Philadelphia community toward ever increasing violence and instability. He begins to dream of Dutchess and Bonaparte, his home and birthright, if only he can find his way there. 

Brilliant, explosive, vitally important new work from one of America’s most fiercely talented storytellers.


Ayana Mathis’s first novel, THE TWELVE TRIBES OF HATTIE, was a New York Times Bestseller, second selection for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0, a 2013 New York Times Notable Book, NPR Best Book of 2013, and was long listed for the Dublin Literary Award and nominated for Hurston/Wright Foundation's Legacy Award. Mathis’s nonfiction has been published in The New York TimesThe AtlanticThe Financial TimesRolling Stone, Guernica and Glamour. Her work has been supported by the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, and the Bogliasco Foundation. She was a 2020-2021 American Academy in Berlin Prize Fellow. Mathis received her MFA at the Iowa Writers' Workshop and went on to become the first African American woman to serve as an assistant professor in that program.  She currently teaches at Hunter College’s MFA Program. 

Please note Loyalty has a zero tolerance policy for harassment or intimidation of any kind during this event. 

Event date: 
Tuesday, November 21, 2023 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
843 Upshur Street NW
Washington, DC 20011
The Unsettled: A novel By Ayana Mathis Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525519935
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Click on the title to see which location!
Published: Knopf - September 26th, 2023

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie: Oprah's Book Club 2.0 (Vintage Contemporaries) By Ayana Mathis Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307949707
Availability: On Our Shelves Now - Click on the title to see which location!
Published: Vintage - October 8th, 2013

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