GONE LIKE YESTERDAY
THE NEW Novel from kimbilio Fellow Janelle M. Williams
Sharp and wholly original, Gone Like Yesterday is a story about family and the quest for legacy but also a literary exploration of ethnic and racial identity, self, and what it means to be found. Shot-through with generation spanning song lyrics and stark societal truths, this novel explores the majestic and haunting experience of a Black American woman.
Zahra is a listless college prep coach helping New York’s wealthy teens craft pitch-perfect essays to get into the most prestigious schools, while Sammie, a teenage girl and budding activist, is struggling to embrace the varied aspects of her identity. The two women are drawn to each other, seemingly randomly, before realizing an unexpected commonality—beautiful, mysterious moths have been singing the songs of Zahra’s ancestors to her for years and have more recently begun giving Sammie the eerie feeling of being watched.
Then the unthinkable happens: Zahra’s brother, Derrick, goes missing. Derrick has always been enigmatic—sensitive and connected to the spiritual world—and it’s no secret he has been drifting from Zahra and her family. But this time feels different, and Zahra is panicked that he may really be gone for good.
Zahra and Sammie embark on a road trip from New York to Atlanta, Zahra’s hometown, in search of Derrick. A journey that balloons into something far bigger than they could have imagined. In order to uncover the truth, they must discover what the moths and their ancestors want with them, and what that answer means for their individual and collective futures.