The Newest Selection for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0: RUBY, A Novel by Cynthia Bond
In describing her debut novel, RUBY (Hogarth; February 10, 2015),Cynthia Bond has said, “There are moments, spices, that have been stirred in slowly—from my life and from the stories of others.” She has drawn upon her own experiences, her family’s history, and the heartbreaking tales she’s heard through her years working with homeless and at-risk youth—including the brutal devastation of human trafficking—and woven these threads together to create a story that is truly unforgettable. The newest selection for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0, RUBY is the kind of story that stays with you long after you’ve read the last page. “Nothing comes close to the experience of reading this book. It’s a dark, moving story, harrowing and heartbreaking yet filled with moments of love pure and strong,” said Oprah Winfrey. “When I found out that Cynthia Bond is 53 years old and hasn’t written a book before, I couldn’t fathom it. RUBY is a vivid, searing novel that penetrates straight through the page and into the reader’s heart.” A labor of love that Bond worked on over the course of ten years, this epic novel sparkles with a richness and brilliance emblematic of its namesake.
From the moment Ephram Jennings first laid eyes on her as a young boy, he knew there was something special about Ruby Bell. Ruby was “the kind of pretty it hurt to look at”—but an ugliness followed her. Born from tragedy, Ruby has suffered through horrors in her life few could fathom. Liberty Township, Texas, meant nothing but pain for her, and so the moment she could flee, Ruby packed up and left for New York in search of the mother who had long ago tried to leave Liberty behind. But the bright lights and cultural luminaries of the city could only keep the falling shadows away for so long. Small cracks had begun to show in Ruby’s carefully crafted veneer, and when she was called back to Liberty by a tragic telegram from her childhood best friend, those cracks would spread—until they broke her apart. Now Ruby has once again become the talk of the town, the great beauty replaced by a ragged, feral woman who roams the woods on the outskirts of Liberty. Night after night, her horrifying screams can be heard from the Bell land as she fights the demon that plagues her. The great scourge of the town, Ruby Bell is one no one dares go near—except for Ephram Jennings. Ephram has long harbored a love for Ruby and he can no longer watch as Liberty and the ghosts of Ruby’s past destroy her. Though it means leaving behind the sister who raised him and suffering the insults of the town, Ephram refuses to allow Ruby to carry her burden alone any longer. But will it be—can it be—enough?
Bond brings readers into the world of RUBY,where her power to affect knows no bounds. With an incredible elegance and grace, she lays before us the darkest sides of humanity, unflinchingly taking us down into the depths of evil so that we may see the transcendent power of hope and love. Devastating beauty and power radiate from Bond’s prose, and in reading RUBY it is clear that we are witnessing the arrival of an astonishing new voice.
About the Author
CYNTHIA BOND, a PEN/Rosenthal Fellow, has taught writing to homeless and at-risk youth throughout Los Angeles for more than fifteen years. Her novel, RUBY, is the fourth Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection, was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, and was chosen as an Indie Next Pick by independent booksellers throughout the U.S. O, The Oprah Magazine says, “Cynthia Bond proves to be a powerful literary force, a writer whose unflinching yet lyrical prose is reminiscent of Toni Morrison’s.” Bond attended Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, then moved to New York and attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She founded the Blackbird Writing Collective in 2011. At present, Bond teaches therapeutic writing at Paradigm Malibu Adolescent Treatment Center. A native of East Texas, she lives in Los Angeles with her daughter.Read an Excerpt