Don’t Cry for Me: A Novel by Daniel Black


A black father makes amends with his gay son through letters written on his deathbed in this wise and penetrating novel of empathy and forgiveness, for fans of Ta-Nehisi Coates, Robert Jones Jr., and Alice Walker.



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“Breathtaking in its emotional breadth and the simplicity of its structure.

In letters from a Black father to his Black gay son, Daniel Black shows a man wrestling with the toxic masculinity handed down generation after generation, sometimes in the name of survival and sometimes in the name of pride (which, in effect, can be its form of survival). The letters, even as they’re from the POV of the father, never seek to absolve him. Instead, with care and thoughtful attention, they give a history from which the father can grow and has grown, and an attempt to recognize the wounds he’s inflicted on his son.

They are sad and imperfect, exactly as human as the character penning them.”


As Jacob lays dying, he begins to write a letter to his only son Isaac. They have not met or spoken in many years, and there are things that Isaac must know. Stories about his ancestral legacy in rural Arkansas that extends back to slavery. Secrets from Jacob’s tumultuous relationship with Isaac’s mother and the shame he carries from the dissolution of their family. Tragedies that informed Jacob’s role as a father and his reaction to Isaac being gay. But most of all, Jacob must share with Isaac the unspoken truths that reside in his heart. He must give voice to the trauma that Isaac has inherited. And he must create a space for the two to find peace.

With piercing insight and profound empathy, acclaimed author Daniel Black illuminates to the lived experiences of Black fathers and queer sons, offering an authentic and ultimately hopeful portrait of reckoning and reconciliation. Spare as it is sweeping, poetic as it is compulsively readable, Don’t Cry for Me is monumental novel about one family grappling with love’s hard edges and the unexpected places where hope and healing take flight.

Don’t Cry for Me: A Novel by Daniel Black