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Black Cake: A Novel Hardcover – February 1, 2022

4.4 out of 5 stars 5,304 ratings

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From the Publisher

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

An Amazon Best Book of February 2022: Perfect for book clubs, Black Cake follows the story of estranged grown siblings who come together after the death of their mother and discover a secret that upends everything they’ve ever known about their family. You will root for these flawed but relatable characters, as they travel from the Caribbean to London to California, in order to reckon with the past. It’s a juicy and satisfying read of secrets and betrayals, race and class, the pain of expectations, the power of love, and yes, a family tradition of Black Cake. —Al Woodworth, Amazon Editor

Review

Black Cake is a character-driven, multigenerational story that’s meant to be savored. . . . Thought-provoking and poignant.”Time

“A thrilling debut novel about sibling ties and hidden family history.”
Glamour

“As delicious as the titular dessert.”
W Magazine

“Wilkerson explores the nuances of racial identity and betrayal in a powerful novel.”
Vogue (UK)

Black Cake is a satisfying literary meal, heralding the arrival of a new novelist to watch.”—Associated Press

“A stellar first-time entry from a talented new writer that’s full of food, surfing, and rich patois.”
—BET

“Crafted with delicate intention and textured with a blend of perspectives.”
Vulture

“I was instantly taken in by this multigenerational tale of identity, family, and the lifelong push and pull of home. This novel has a tremendous heart at its center, and I felt its beat on every page. What an extraordinary debut.”
—Mary Beth Keane, New York Times bestselling author of Ask Again, Yes

“Exquisite and expansive,
Black Cake took ahold of me from the first page and didn’t let go. This is a novel about the formation and reformation of a family, and the many people, places, and events that can shape our inheritances without our knowing. A gripping, poignant debut from an important, new voice.”—Naima Coster, New York Times bestselling author of What’s Mine and Yours

Black Cake has all the ingredients of the tastiest stories: secrets, romance, danger, and a cast of characters so real you want to scream at them one moment and hug them the next.”—Dawnie Walton, author of The Final Revival of Opal & Nev

“So beautifully written I’m struggling to believe it’s a debut . . . The cake is the glue that holds all the layers together and the scenes are so well drawn I could almost taste the cake, feel the warm sea on my skin.”
—Nikki May, author of Wahala

“With fantasy-like sensual detail, Wilkerson slips through time and place to explore the emotional weight of family traditions passed down through generations to heirs challenged to find their own emotional truths.”
—Lucy Sanna, author of The Cherry Harvest

“Fans of family dramas by Ann Patchett, Brit Bennett, and Karen Joy Fowler should take note.
Black Cake marks the launch of a writer to watch, one who masterfully plumbs the unexpected depths of the human heart.”BookPage (starred review)

“Wilkerson uses one Caribbean American family’s extraordinary tale to probe universal issues of identity and how the lives we live and the choices we make leave ‘a trail of potential consequences’ that pass down through generations.”
Booklist (starred review)

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Ballantine Books (February 1, 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 400 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0593358333
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593358337
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.4 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.5 x 1.26 x 9.54 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 5,304 ratings

About the author

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Charmaine Wilkerson is an American writer who has lived in Jamaica and is now based in Italy. A graduate of Barnard College and Stanford University, she is a former journalist whose award-winning short stories have appeared in various magazines and anthologies. Black Cake is her first novel.

Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
5,304 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on February 17, 2022
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5.0 out of 5 stars "A secret's worth depends on the people from whom it must be kept." Carlos Ruiz Zafon.
Reviewed in the United States on February 17, 2022
"Nothing haunts us like the things we don't say." Mitch Albom

Black Cake is a delicious metaphor used throughout the story and is usually made to commemorate life changing celebrations. In the story, the matriarch followed the tradition of keeping black cake preserved in the back of the freezer, just like the secrets she kept well preserved in her heart and mind. A multigenerational story with just as many ingredients as Black Cake. Secrets, deception, abandonment, heartbreak, migration, trauma, racism, stolen identity, love, importance of education, and determination. The story travels through time and countries, linking the old, what once was and the new. The determination to survive and succeed empowered the main character throughout her life. Life circumstances forced her to make very hard decisions. In death the truth unfolded the many lies told to protect herself and her loved ones. The story had me clutching my pearls as the story unfolded, revealing the truth. Very engaging page-turner.

"A secret's worth depends on the people from whom it must be kept." Carlos Ruiz Zafon.
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Reviewed in the United States on February 10, 2022
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Top reviews from other countries

Joanna M. Campbell
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written and richly layered
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 25, 2022
2 people found this helpful
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Jennifer's Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Modern Issues, History, Romance, Mystery - the Lot
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 10, 2022
Mrs. SE Lansman
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 10, 2022
3 people found this helpful
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Book worm
5.0 out of 5 stars It’s got everything
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 15, 2022
One person found this helpful
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Ms. C. C. Charles
5.0 out of 5 stars Bravo!!! Brilliantly written.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 6, 2022
One person found this helpful
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