The Turner House by Angela Flournoy is a perfect study of a family right on the edge of change. The Turner matriarch is nearing the end of her life, and all 13 siblings have something to say about that. Highlighting the oppression of domestic life; the messy, chaotic complications of sibling relationships; and the almost physical ache and longing for family and home; Flournoy delivers a beautiful elegy on kin, modern life, and the things that keep us connected, as well as the things that keep us apart. Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
A powerful, timely debut, The Turner House
marks a major new contribution to the story of the American family.
The Turners have lived on Yarrow Street for over fifty years. Their house has seen thirteen children grown and gone — and some returned; it has seen the arrival of grandchildren, the fall of Detroit’s East Side, and the loss of a father. The house still stands despite abandoned lots, an embattled city, and the inevitable shift outward to the suburbs. But now, as ailing matriarch Viola finds herself forced to leave her home and move in with her eldest son, the family discovers that the house is worth just a tenth of its mortgage. The Turner children are called home to decide its fate and to reckon with how each of their pasts haunts — and shapes — their family’s future.
Praised by Ayana Mathis as “utterly moving” and “un-putdownable,” The Turner House brings us a colorful, complicated brood full of love and pride, sacrifice and unlikely inheritances. It’s a striking examination of the price we pay for our dreams and futures, and the ways in which our families bring us home.
"Utterly moving and tough as nails, The Turner House is a love story as immense as the family it describes, and as complicated as the city that made them. A clear-sighted ode to the bonds that make and break us, to resilience across generations, to shared joys and solitary struggles, Flournoy's debut is as fresh and bold as they come. Commanding and un-putdownable!" Ayana Mathis, bestselling author of The Twelve Tribes of Hattie
“An engrossing and remarkably mature first novel...Flournoy’s prose is
artful without being showy. She takes the time to flesh out the
world...In her accretion of resonant details, Flournoy recounts the
history of Detroit with more sensitivity than any textbook
could...Flournoy gets at the universal through the patient observation
of one family’s particulars. In this assured and memorable novel, she
provides the feeling of knowing a family from the inside out, as we
would wish to know our own.” New York Times Book Review
"Nobody can take you from joyful to infuriated as fast as your brother
or sister. Similarly, the ups and downs of the 13 siblings that populate
The Turner House, the first novel by Angela Flournoy, whip from
laugh-out-loud to heart-crushing. Still, she proves even bonds that have
stretched a mile long have the ability to snap back." Essence Magazine
"A lively, thoroughly engaging family saga with a cast of fully realized
characters...[Flournoy] handles time and place with a veteran's
ease...She puts her own distinctive stamp on this absorbing
narrative." Publisher's Weekly, starred and boxed review
"Encompassing a multitude of themes, including aging and parenthood,
this is a compelling read that is funny and moving in equal measure." Booklist, starred review
"Flournoy's writing is precise and sharp...the novel draws readers to
the Turner family almost magnetically. A talent to watch." Kirkus
About the Author
ANGELA FLOURNOY is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the University of Southern California. Her fiction has appeared in the Paris Review, and she has written for the New Republic, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and other publications. She has taught writing at the University of Iowa and Trinity Washington University. She was raised by a mother from Los Angeles and a father from Detroit.