Genus Jackson was killed in Cotton County, Georgia, on a summer midnight in 1930, when the newborn twins were fast asleep.
They lay head to toe in a cradle meant for one, Winnafred on one side and Wilson on the other. Only if you looked closely – and people did – could you see that the girl was pink as a piglet, and the boy was brown.
At once an intimate family drama and an expansive, mesmerising epic The Twelve-Mile Straight explores the blood, guilt and violence that lies at the heart of the American experience.
Despite the prying eyes and curious whispers of the townspeople, Elma begins to raise her babies as best as she can, under the roof of her impulsive father, Juke, and with the help of Nan, the young black housekeeper who is as close to Elma as a sister. It soon becomes clear that the ties that bind all of them together are more intricate than any could have imagined. A web of lies begins to collapse around the family, destabilizing their precarious world and forcing all to reckon with the truth.