Synopses & Reviews
As much a historical document as it is a novel, this 1946 winner of the Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship is the poignant and unblinkingly honest story of a young black woman's struggle to live and raise her son by herself amid the violence, poverty, and racial dissonance of Harlem in the late 1940s.
"A classic of American realism . . . The Street rushes toward its fatalistic climax like a train toward a washed-out bridge."
"Overflows with the classic pity and terror of good imaginative writing."
"A major literary invention . . . A truly great book." The Los Angeles Times
"Overflows with the classic pity and terror of good imaginative writing." The New York Times
"A powerful, uncompromising work of social criticism. To this day, few works of fiction have so clearly illuminated the devastating impact of racial injustice." -- Coretta Scott King
"A classic of American realism . . . The Street rushes toward its fatalistic climax like a train toward a washed-out bridge." Newsday
THE STREET tells the poignant, often heartbreaking story of Lutie Johnson, a young black woman, and her spirited struggle to raise her son amid the violence, poverty, and racial dissonance of Harlem in the late 1940s. Originally published in 1946 and hailed by critics as a masterwork, The Street was Ann Petry's first novel, a beloved bestseller with more than a million copies in print. Its haunting tale still resonates today.
About the Author
Ann Petry (1908-1997), a black novelist, short story writer, and writer of books for young people, is one of America's most distinguished authors. Ann began by studying pharmacology, and in 1934, received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Connecticut College of Pharmacy. She worked as a registered pharmacist in Old Saybrook and in Lyme, and during these years wrote several short stories. When she married George David Petry in 1938, the course of her life changed. They lived in New York City, and Ann went to work for the Harlem Amsterdam News. By 1941, she was covering general news stories and editing the women's pages of the People's Voice in Harlem. Her first published story appeared in 1943 in the Crisis, a magazine published monthly by the NAACP. Subsequent to that, she began work on her first novel, The Street, which was published in 1946 and for which she received the Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship. Mrs. Petry has written two more novels, The Country Place and The Narrows, and numerous short stories, articles and children's books. In addition, she was appointed visiting professor of English at the University of Hawaii (1944 - 45) and has lectured widely throughout the United States. Ann returned with her husband to Old Saybrook in 1947 and lived there until here death. They have one daughter.