Emily Raboteau


An Interview with Emily Raboteau, by Kori Davis

Reading Emily Raboteau’s first nonfiction book, Searching for Zion, will make you want to trace your family tree and book the nearest plane going to farthest destination.  It starts with tracking down an old friend in Jerusalem, but as the book unfurls, trips to Jamaica, Ethiopia, and Ghana are taken. Born to white mother and a black father, Raboteau’s journey becomes a mixture of soul searching and identity crisis as she deals with feelings of displacement in a pre and post 9/11 America. Searching for Zion was released the same year as the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I have Dream” speech at the march on Washington; however, it is King’s “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” that Raboteau truly evokes, carrying the idea of finding the Promised Land. There are disappointments around every corner in Raboteau’s narrative, and yet, Raboteau plunges into the darkness to show us light, weaving a number of different topics from different locations together to form deep connections that fight against the isolation.

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