Tag Archives: Literary Fiction

Review: The Turner House

The Turner House

The Turner House
By Angela Flournoy
Houghton Mifflin, Hardcover, 9780544303164, April 2015, 352pp.

The Short of It:

What makes a house a home?

The Rest of It:

The house on Yarrow Street, once a thriving hub for thirteen children in the middle of Detroit’s crumbling East Side, has seen its members come and go for over fifty years. Now, falling apart and worth much less than what they paid for it, the family is forced to sell it back to the bank.

I really enjoyed this flawed family. Granted, there are a lot of characters in this story to keep track of and I’m not sure that all of their stories were as interesting as some, but the gambling addiction of the youngest sibling was particularly interesting to me as was the “haint” or ghostly apparition that the oldest sibling grew up with.

When you’ve lived in a house for as long as the Turners have, it’s impossible to not have feelings about it even when the neighborhood around it has gone to hell. And how many times have we been willing to let something go only to change our minds once the sale sign is up? It just seems so final, right?

That is the case here but this isn’t a sad, sappy story about losing a home. It’s much more subtle in the telling. Flournoy focuses on the flaws of each family member, allowing the reader to get to know them a little, see the home from their eyes, walk in their shoes, etc.

For me, it took me a little while to get into the story but once I did, I found that I really enjoyed it. It was a National Book Award finalist and extremely well-received when it debuted. Have you read it?

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: Commonwealth

Commonwealth

Commonwealth
By Ann Patchett
Harper, Hardcover, 9780062491794,September 2016, 336pp.

The Short of It:

This is a story about two families and how the actions of one night affect them for decades.

The Rest of It:

One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating’s christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny’s mother, Beverly thus setting in motion the dissolution of their marriages and the joining of two families. (Indiebound)

Reading has been really difficult for me these past couple of months so I was really excited when I finally sat down to Commonwealth. As tragic as a story like this could be,  it’s not. There’s some sadness but clearly, this is a family that loves each other and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know these characters. Plus, much of it is set in Southern California, which I loved. The story spans decades but never once did I lose interest.

I’m not sure if I will ever get around to posting my “best of” list this year but Commonwealth is definitely on it.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.