Ordinary Light

Finalist, National Book Awards 2015 for Nonfiction

Ordinary Light by Tracy K. Smith book cover, 2015
ISBN 978-0307962669
Alfred A. Knopf
Tracy K. Smith

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Tracy Smith’s hypnotically lyric memoir navigates through the author’s childhood with a series of extraordinary ruminations on life’s ordinary trials, ultimately arriving at an unsettling birthright: the pain of her parents’ own childhoods in a segregated south. Smith embraces this pain reluctantly as one that "has been borne by the people we love.” Ordinary Light is about historical trauma and Smith’s decision to let it shape her but in no way define who she is.