Tuesday, March 1, 2016

"The Turner House" by Angela Flournoy

FTC Disclosure: I received an eARC of this novel through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. I checked out the audiobook from my public library through Overdrive.

Despite the very favorable buzz around this book last year, and the generosity of the publisher in approving my review copy request, I didn't get around to this book until recently. And what a shame!

"The Turner House" is the story of the 13 Turner siblings and their mother & family matriarch, Viola. As Viola ages and faces moving in with her eldest son, the family must decide what to do with her house on Yarrow Street in Detroit. This is the home in which they all grew up, but it is 2008 and it is now worth a tiny fraction of its outstanding debt. Each sibling has their own life, family, and problems with which to cope. 

Flournoy balances these distinct narratives and melds them into a cohesive whole. The novel bounces in time, telling siblings' stories and connections to the house, and that of the relationship between Viola and her husband Francis. This gives the novel a sprawling, epic feel within its 350 pages, and offers readers a glimpse into the history of Detroit. This portrait of a family is well drawn - the individual members are interesting in their own right, and the family dynamics and squabbles ring true.

Verdict: Affirmed. Out in paperback today, this book will resonate strongly with readers of literary and historical fiction, and those who enjoy inter-generational tales. The audio narration by Adenrele Ojo is also excellent, if that's your preferred format.

"The Turner House" by Angela Flournoy, published April 14, 2015 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Audio narration by Adenrele Ojo, published April 15, 2015 by Blackstone Audio, Inc. Paperback published March 1, 2016 by Mariner.

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