Synopses & Reviews
Diane McKinney-Whetstone's lyrical first novel, Tumbling, vividly captures a tightly knit African-American neighborhood in South Philadelphia during the forties and fifties. Its central characters, Herbie and Noon, are a loving but unconventional couple whose marriage remains unconsummated for many years as Noon struggles to repossess her sexuality after a brutal attack in her past. While she seeks salvation in the church, Herbie gains sexual gratification in the arms of a bewitching jazz singer named Ethel, a woman who profoundly affects both Noon's and Herbie's lives when she leaves with them, first, a baby girl and then later, a five-year-old named Liz.
When a road planned by the city council threatens to break up this South Philadelphia neighborhood, the community must band together. Unexpectedly, Noon rises up and takes the lead in the opposition, fighting for all she's worth to keep her family and community together.
Tumbling is a beautiftilly rendered, poignant story about the ties that bind us and the secrets that keep us apart. With striking lyricism, Diane McKinney-Whetstone keenly guides us through the world of community, family, and the human heart.
Noon and Herbie are deeply in love and living in a tightly knit African American neighborhood in South Philadelphia during the 1940s. But their marriage remains unconsummated because of a horrible incident in Noon's past, so each seeks comfort elsewhere: Noon in the warm acceptance of the neighborhood church; Herbie in the arms of Ethel, a jazz singer. Then one day an infant girl is left on their doorstep, and later Ethel blesses them with her five-year-old niece. Suddenly and unexpectedly a family, Herbie, Noon, and their two girls draw closer—until an outside threat reawakens a fire in Noon, causing her to rise up and fight to hold her family and her community together.
Diane McKinney-Whetstone's Tumbling is a poignant, exquisitely rendered story of the ties that bind us and the secrets that keep us apart.
“Even the air is palpable in Tumbling
...The story moves forth on the power of Ms. McKinney-Whetstones characters. Ms. McKinney-Whetstone captures the formidable struggle to protect both a community and a family.” —New York Times Book Review
“Warm and intimate.... Tumbling is an accomplished novel, with sharply drawn characters, exuberant prose, plenty of period detail and a wise, forgiving outlook on family life.” — Los Angeles Times Book Review
The beloved bestselling debut novel that launched the luminous career of Diane McKinney Whetstone, critically acclaimed author of Tempest Rising, Blues Dancing, Leaving Cecil Street, and Trading Dreams at Midnight. Writing in a style as accessible as Terry McMillan (Waiting to Exhale, How Stella Got Her Groove Back), yet with the literary touches of Toni Morrison (Beloved, Song of Solomon), McKinney Whetstones Tumbling is the “warm and wonderful” (Nikki Giovanni), beautiful and uplifting story of Noon and Herbie and their tight-knit Philadelphia neighborhood in the 1940s and 50s.
About the Author
Diane McKinney-Whetstone is the author of five acclaimed novels and the recipient of numerous awards, including the American Library Association's Black Caucus Literary Award for Fiction, which she won twice. She teaches fiction writing at the University of Pennsylvania and lives in Philadelphia with her husband, Greg.