Gayl Jones was born in Kentucky in 1949. She attended Connecticut College and Brown University and has taught at Wellesley and the University of Michigan. Her books include Corregidora (1975), Eva's Man (1976), The Healing (1998), which was a National Book Award finalist, Palmares (2021), which was shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize in fiction and longlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize, and The Birdcatcher (2022), which was also a National Book Award Finalist.
Corregidora was a small, fiercely concentrated story, harsh and perfectly told . . . Original, superbly imagined, nothing about the book was simple or easily digested. Out of the worn themes of miscegenation and diminishment, Gayl Jones excavated the disturbingly buried damage of racism. Eva's Man is a deepened exploration of the woman's inner life; of the pressures, the cruelties, the imposed expectations - The New RepublicAn American writer with a powerful sense of vital inheritance, of history in the bloodGayl Jones's work remains essential and vital; I will be rereading her catalog for the rest of my life - NylonGayl Jones is one furious, lacerating writer. You don't read her easily, and you can't forget her at all . . . Hyper-real and traumatic as this novel is, it's one that's been waiting to be written since Samuel Richardson gave us the male point of view of Clarissa, that other fallen woman whose only acceptable alternative to ravishment was death. Eva's silence, and her status here as legally insane, are eloquent testimony to the condition of being a woman in this man's world - KirkusGayl Jones ... accomplishes the almost impossible: a second novel that's every bit as intense, brutally honest and haunting as her first - MademoiselleJones's writing powerfully blends narrative and lyricism. Her people speak a spare, lean, Southern black language ... Her imagination seems to thrive on outstripping one's expectations - Newsweek