Those Bones Are Not My Child

Those Bones Are Not My Child


'A magnum opus... Puts the reader at the heart of the horror that came to be called the Atlanta child murders' Toni Morrison

Zala Spencer is barely surviving on the margins of Atlanta's booming economy when she awakens one summer's morning in 1980 to find her teenage son, Sonny, has disappeared. As uneasy hours turn into desperate days, Zala realizes that Sonny is among the many cases of missing children beginning to attract national attention. Growing increasingly disillusioned with the authorities, who respond to Sonny's disappearance with cold indifference, Zala and her estranged husband embark on an epic search. Through the eyes of a family seized by anguish and terror, we watch a city roiling with political, racial, and class tensions.

Written over a span of twelve years, and edited by Toni Morrison, who called Those Bones Are Not My Child the author's magnum opus, Toni Cade Bambara's last novel leaves us with an enduring and revelatory chronicle of an American nightmare.


  • A magnum opus... Puts the reader at the heart of the horror that came to be called the Atlanta child murders
    Toni Morrison

About the author

Toni Cade Bambara

Author, teacher, activist and filmmaker Toni Cade Bambara was born in Harlem, New York in 1939. After graduating from Queens College in 1959, she worked as a social investigator, and then in the psychiatry department of New York City's Metropolitan Hospital. She studied acting and mime in Florence and Paris, received an MA in 1964 from City College of New York, and went on to lecture in English at CUNY, Livingston College, and other universities. Bambara's involvement in the Black liberation and women's movements led her to edit and publish one of the first major anthologies of Black women's writing, The Black Woman, in 1970; the following year she published a collection of folktales, Tales and Stories for Black Folks, which celebrated what she dubbed 'Our Great Kitchen Tradition'. In 1972, Bambara published her debut collection of short stories, Gorilla, My Love, and then, in 1980, her first novel, The Salt Eaters, which won the American Book Award and the Langston Hughes Society Award. Upon her death in 1995, The New York Times praised Bambara as 'a major contributor to the emerging genre of contemporary black women's literature'. Her legacy was recognised with a posthumous induction into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame in 2013.
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