'The Twelve Tribes Of Hattie' Author Ayana Mathis: 'We Do Hunger More For Suffering Characters'

01/22/2013 12:53 pm ET

In the newest Oprah's Book Club pick, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, author Ayana Mathis traces one family's difficult journey through the turbulent decades following the Great Migration. In this video clip, Oprah asks Mathis if she thinks readers long for suffering characters more than joyful ones.

"I think readers are more accustomed to suffering characters than they are to joyful ones," Mathis says. "And I do think that in a certain way we do hunger more for suffering characters simply because people, I find, often are hesitant to discuss, air or seek support for the deepest and most painful things in their lives. And so in literature we can find companions and mirrors of [our own suffering]."

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