Ann Petry: The Street, the Narrows (Loa #314)

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Product Details

$35.00  $32.55
Library of America
Publish Date
5.0 X 8.1 X 1.6 inches | 1.5 pounds

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About the Author

Her father a pharmacist and her mother a hairdresser and shopkeeper, Ann Petry (1908-1997) graduated from the Connecticut College of Pharmacy and returned to her Old Saybrook, Connecticut, home town to work in the family pharmacy. Marrying in 1938, she moved to New York City, where she wrote for The Amsterdam News and The People's Voice, performed with the American Negro Theatre, studied art, and began to publish short stories. Her critically acclaimed first novel, The Street (1946), became the first book by an African American woman to sell more than a million copies. Returning to Old Saybrook to raise her daughter, she went on to write the novels Country Place (1947) and The Narrows (1953), Miss Muriel and Other Stories (1971), the young adult historical novels Tituba of Salem Village (1955) and Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad (1955), and other works.

Farah Jasmine Griffin, William B. Ransford Professor of English, Comparative Literature, and African-American Studies at Columbia University, has written extensively about Ann Petry, most recently in Harlem Nocturne: Women Artists and Progressive Politics During World War II (2013).


"Petry will always feel on time. Her kind of talent will always feel startling and sui generis: The music of her sentences, and their discipline; her unerring sense of psychology; the fullness with which she endows each character, which must be understood as a kind of love; the plots that commandeer whole hours and days. . . . Her work endures not only because it illuminates reality, but because it harnesses the power of fiction to supplant it." -- Parul Sehgal, The New York Times

"Newly reissued, Ann Petry's novels The Street and The Narrows are masterpieces of social realism ... this reissue makes clear that her writing transcends comparisons. It's volatile but exacting, heartbreaking but often brutally funny. Labels don't stick to it." -- Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal