Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Turner House by Angela Flournoy

Thirteen children were raised in the house on Yarrow Street in Eastside Detroit. In 2008 it stands empty. Their father Frances had come North for work and spent his life driving 18 wheelers for Chrysler. He struggled with alcohol, held his children in speechless love, and was buried in his Hudson's suit. Their aging mother Alice is living with her oldest son. The money owed on the house is more than it is worth, but to save it will cost $40,000. The kids can't agree what to do. Each has their own memories of the house, and their own demons.

The Turner House by Angela Flournoy is a story Detroiters will recognize as 'theirs': black migration from the South to Detroit hoping for work and the rewards of a home of their own, then watching the city fall into the slow ruin caused by white--and black flight to the suburbs, job loss, city mismanagement, crime, drugs, and the lure of easy money at the casinos. The author's father was from Detroit, and his stories informed and inspired her book.

It is the Turner family that makes the novel impelling and universal; Flournoy's wise and compassionate portraits of complex people struggling with human issues.

The Turner House iis featured in the Spring 2015 Paris Review. Flournoy says on her blog,
"There's an excerpt of my novel that I'm very excited about! It's called "Lelah," and on top of the obvious feelings of joy and humility I ahve for being in such an illustrious publication, I'm also happy that The Paris Review selected "Lelah" in particular. She is the first character I "knew," the one whose story came to me when it was well underway. She challenged me to figure our how she got to where she was in her life, and to develop where she needed to go next."
Trip Around the World; found at a flea market; by an Eastside Detroit quilter

I received a free e-book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

The Turner House
Angela Flournoy
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: May 21, 2015
ISBN: 9780544303164
$23.00 hard cover