Oprah Winfrey is ecstatic about Cynthia Bond’s first novel, Ruby. Winfrey choose Bond’s compelling novel as one of her books to promote on her website, Oprah’s Book Club 2.0, as well as through Instagram, Twitter, and other social platforms.
In a telephone interview with the Associated Press, Oprah shared her thoughts on reading Ruby.
“I thought, Wow, this is so good I have to wait until I actually have the time to absorb the language. I put it down and waited until I was in bed with the flu to start reading it. I found the language and descriptions so vividly compelling that sometimes I would have to take a breath and repeat the sentences out loud.”
Through her Harpo Films, Oprah Winfrey acquired television and film rights for Ruby. Winfrey plans to interview Bond in O magazine’s March issue, which is scheduled to hit the stands Feb. 17.
Cynthia Bond’s debut novel is Oprah Winfrey’s first choice for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 in nearly a year. Winfrey’s last selection was Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings.
Winfrey started her book club in 1996. Each year, she offered her fans and viewers suggestions of a few inspiring and motivating books worth reading.
Oprah curtailed her book club choices in recent years, claiming to be having been exhausted. She felt she was under too much pressure to find new literary works of high quality. However, from the very first sentence, Oprah Winfrey found Ruby compelling, comparing Cynthia Bond, and her writing, to authors Zora Neale Hurston and Toni Morrison.
Oprah posted this on Twitter.
— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) February 10, 2015
Ruby is set in the Cynthia Bond’s native Texas and tells a poetic and fierce tale of a worldly, beautiful black woman, Ruby Bell, and her struggle not to be destroyed by her home community of Liberty Township.
Bond sets the scene right away, for Oprah Winfrey and, seemingly, for many others.
“Ruby Bell was a constant reminder of what could befall a woman whose shoe heels were too high.”
Currently, Cynthia Bond resides in Los Angeles. She studied journalism at Northwestern University and lived in New York for a number of years. She also acted in New York’s Negro Ensemble Company.
In a telephone interview, Bond said she has been working on the novel for more than a decade. Initially, she wrote 900 pages for Ruby, but ultimately decided to separate it into three books after suggestions made by her agent and mother.
Cynthia Bond’s publisher, Hogarth, printed 20,000 copies of Ruby, an imprint of Penguin Random House. The novel is also as an e-book. Hogarth commissioned a paperback printing of 250,000 copies.
While working with at-risk youth in Los Angeles, Bond heard many stories, which she drew on in writing Ruby. In addition, Cynthia was also inspired by a horrifying event that is part of her family’s history.
In the 1930s, the sheriff and his deputies, all rumored to be members of the Ku Klux Klan, shot Bond’s aunt repeatedly, because she had been involved with a white man. Her aunt’s body was dumped in a sack and thrown onto her grandfather’s porch.
Cynthia Bond offered a brief explanation.
“This has impacted our family so much and was the base from where the story of Ruby started.”
Oprah Winfrey and Cynthia Bond share in difficult and miserable experiences. Bond said as a child she was abused, sexually and physically, and writing helped her cope with near-suicidal depression.
Winfrey and Bond also share in knowing and meeting Maya Angelou, who died last year. Bond met Angelou as a child, and Oprah Winfrey knew Angelou for decades and often spoke of the poet as a mother figure and mentor.
Oprah Winfrey exclaimed more about her feelings about Bond’s new book.
“If Maya had been alive I would have called her before I finished this Ruby and said, oh, my God, you’ve got to read this book and finish it with me.”
[Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images]