The Turner House by Angela Flournoy. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015. 340 pages; $14.95 (paperback); reading level: adult.
Two narratives from two time periods unfold concurrently in this impressive first novel: The first is the story of Francis and Viola Turner, who marry in 1944 and migrate north to Detroit; the second story reaches forward to 2008 and spotlights a four-week period in the lives of their thirteen grown children as they reach out to and rage at one another and their parents, confronting various addictions to alcohol, gambling, drugs, “haints” (ghosts), heroin, success, flea markets, nutrition, and religion. Emotionally battered but wiser for their efforts, they gather for an uproarious celebration of Viola’s 81st birthday. The book is about a black family in a deteriorating east Detroit neighborhood, faced with short-selling their home on Yarrow Street. It is also about Every Family’s crazy, confusing relationships and shared past, remembered so differently by each of its members. Flournoy ends her tale not in 2008 with Viola’s birthday party but back in the summer of 1951, when Francis and Viola (pregnant with their fourth child) first step through the doorway of the house on Yarrow Street. Their oldest child claims the middle room for the boys, Viola does a “short, celebratory dance in the hallway upstairs” and Francis “allowed himself to hope.” It is the last word in this warm, wrenching, humorous story that lingers.
Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge, Author
Biography | View
- Just Fine They Way They Are (Calkins Creek, March 1, 2011)
- The Brave Escape of Edith Wharton (Clarion Books, 2010)
- Thank You Very Much, Captain Ericsson! (Holiday House, 2005; Berndtsdotter Books, 2012)
- When Esther Morris Headed West (Holiday House, 2001)
- The Legend of Strap Buckner (Holiday House, 2001)
- Wicked Jack (Holiday House, 1995)
Speaker / Presenter
Connie is an experienced speaker and presenter who enjoys sharing her passion for writing and her experience as a writer with readers and writers of all ages. She has presented to students, community, civic and professional organizations, writing groups, library audiences, and seniors – wherever book lovers gather!
>> More Information About Connie Speaking and Presenting