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Memphis, Tennessee, built on the eastern banks of the Mississippi River, is known for its rich music heritage and its influence on blues, rock-n-roll, and jazz. It’s also the title and setting of Tara M Stringfellow’s vivid debut novel, which the author has described as a poem to her beloved home city and her family.

At 30, Stringfellow was a successful attorney working 80-hour weeks in Chicago. She hated it and realised that she was not doing what she had set out to do — tell good black stories. She decided to return to university, taking on a master’s in poetry. On graduating, she took a job as a high-school English teacher in Memphis and ended her marriage, signing the divorce papers the same day she signed with her literary agent...

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