The relationship between author and editor is different for every book. As part of our Author/Editor series, we got a glimpse into how that relationship works for Ladee Hubbard and Patrik Henry Bass, who worked together on Hubbard’s second novel The Rib King.
Released in January and published by Amistad Press, Hubbard’s newest novel examines race, class, and privilege through a story of exploitation and appropriation. Centered around the employees at the formerly wealthy Barclay family home, The Rib King tells the story of the desperate Barclay family patriarch who exploits his employees’ work and image to make an incredible profit.
The Rib King
By Ladee Hubbard
Published by Amistad Press
The Rib King centers on the employees of the Barclay family, a once-wealthy family who are desperately trying to keep up appearances of their wealth. Their groundskeeper, August Sitwell, has been with the Barclays for as long as he can remember, having been taken in as an orphan, and takes a special interest in their new maid, Jennie. He harbors a soft spot for helping to take care of the three male orphans, all just under twelve, who the Barclay’s have also recently taken on. The Barclay’s cook, Miss Mamie, looks on as August protects the orphans from multiple horrific happenings as the race riots begin in Chicago.
When a promising opportunity arises for the Barclay family, Mr. Barclay jumps at the chance—selling Miss Mamie’s secret homemade rib sauce. Mr. Barclay takes a chance and decides to mass-produce the sauce himself; using August as the caricature on the front of the bottle. When August realizes he, nor Miss Mamie, will ever see profits from this deal, his anger explodes with horrifying consequences.
A decade later, Jennie is trying to create and sustain a successful life for herself and her daughter. As she sets out to try and secure a home for her hair care balm, she finds she continues to be faced time and time again with her haunting past, what really happened in the Barclay’s house, who August has become after that fateful night, and the web that seems to have been spun around her of August Sitwell. Through The Rib King, an eye-opening look at race, class, exploitation, Black stereotypes, and more are explored.