One of The New York Times' 100 Notable Books of 2017

“A pinball machine zinging with sharp dialogue, breathtaking plot twists and naughty humor... McBride at his brave and joyous best.” —New York Times Book Review

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Good Lord Bird, winner of the 2013 National Book Award for Fiction, Deacon King Kong, and Kill 'Em and Leave, a James Brown biography.

 
The stories in Five-Carat Soul—none of them ever published before—spring from the place where identity, humanity, and history converge. They’re funny and poignant, insightful and unpredictable, imaginative and authentic—all told with McBride’s unrivaled storytelling skill and meticulous eye for character and detail. McBride explores the ways we learn from the world and the people around us. An antiques dealer discovers that a legendary toy commissioned by Civil War General Robert E. Lee now sits in the home of a black minister in Queens. Five strangers find themselves thrown together and face unexpected judgment. An American president draws inspiration from a conversation he overhears in a stable. And members of The Five-Carat Soul Bottom Bone Band recount stories from their own messy and hilarious lives. 
 
As McBride did in his National Book award-winning The Good Lord Bird and his bestselling The Color of Water, he writes with humor and insight about how we struggle to understand who we are in a world we don’t fully comprehend. The result is a surprising, perceptive, and evocative collection of stories that is also a moving exploration of our human condition.
Praise for Five-Carat Soul:

“These brilliant miniatures display all of the rambunctious fearlessness of [McBride's] deeply empathetic imagination... Five-Carat Soul [is] a delight.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Brash, daring and defiantly original... [these] stories are bound to stay with readers for a very long time.” —NPR

“A furious joy drives these glimpses of brave lives in perilous places.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“Serious fun.” —Newsday 

“McBride is such an agile writer that each voice feels authentic and somehow familiar. …These are stories of and from the soul.” —Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“Unpredictable, exhilarating, and, often, hilarious. ... a wild and utterly delightful ride.” —BuzzFeed

“Poignant, imaginative, and 'literary' in the best sense of the word.” —Christian Science Monitor

“Funny, strange and touching. … McBride proves once again that he is a master conjurer of African Americana.” —Seattle Times

“McBride delivers pure gold... Five-Carat Soul shakes with laughter, grips with passion and oozes wisdom.” —Shelf Awareness (starred review)