Possessing the Secret of Joy

A Novel

The stunning New York Times bestseller, from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Color Purple, reissued in a handsome new edition with a brand-new preface

“A remarkable novel. . . . Walker has pulled off an amazing feat here: she’s written a powerful novel about brutal misogyny, and she’s made it both horrifying and readable, angry and warmhearted, political and human.” —Newsweek

From the author the New York Times Book Review calls “a lavishly gifted writer,” this is the searing story of Tashi, a tribal African woman first glimpsed in The Color Purple whose fateful decision to submit to the tsunga’s knife and be genitally mutilated leads to a trauma that informs her life and fatefully alters her existence. Possessing the Secret of Joy, out of print for a number of years, was the first novel to deal with this controversial topic and managed to do so in a manner that Cosmopolitan called “masterful, honorable, and unforgettable storytelling.” The New Press is proud to bring the book back into print with a new preface by the author addressing the book’s initial reception and the changed attitudes toward female genital mutilation that have come about in part because of this book.



“As compelling as . . . The Color Purple.”
San Francisco Chronicle
“Remarkable . . . superb fiction.”
New York Daily News
“Extraordinarily courageous and chilling . . . Walker’s remarkable compassion rings on every page.”

News and Reviews

Maya Angelou was an indomitable spirit of great generosity, kindness, and love.

Books by Alice Walker

The Chicken Chronicles
Sitting with the Angels Who Have Returned with My Memories: Glorious, Rufus, Gertrude Stein, Splendor, Hortensia, Agnes of God, the Gladyses, & Babe: A Memoir

Alice Walker

The Cushion in the Road
Meditation and Wandering as the Whole World Awakens to Being in Harm’s Way

Alice Walker

The World Has Changed
Conversations with Alice Walker

Alice Walker, Rudolph P. Byrd

The World Will Follow Joy
Turning Madness into Flowers (New Poems)

Alice Walker

Goodreads Reviews