New Non-Fiction From A Town House Favorite
As the movers took the last boxes, Mom joined us at the window, leaning against it one last time. ‘The city would never have allowed this to happen in a white neighborhood,’ she said, her voice echoing around the living room.
–from Three Girls From Bronzeville by Dawn Turner
For people like me, as for many of you, it isn’t just that we love to read, it’s that reading gives us the language for our lives. I usually turn to fiction and poetry for such beauty, creativity and insight, but I eagerly read Dawn Turner’s forthcoming memoir, Three Girls from Bronzeville, because I had the pleasure of meeting Dawn twenty years ago and appreciate her as a person and writer.
The last several years have made us chillingly aware of the horrible realities of the racial divide in our world. Dawn’s new book is a timely and personal revelation of third-generation daughters of the Great Migration coming of age in 1970’s Chicago. It will become available September 7, 2021 and we are featuring it on one of our most important booklists called Making Sense of These Times.
I’ve just reread (and loved again) Dawn’s 1997 debut novel titled Only Twice I’ve Wished For Heaven, which is set in Chicago and echoes aspects of the author’s own life. Her second novel, An Eighth of August, followed in 2000. It was with the publication of the second novel that I had an opportunity to invite Dawn to visit Town House as part of our newly established “Dinner With the Author” series. The series was based on inviting a beloved author and creating a relaxed atmosphere in which people could dine, converse about the book, and then listen to a brief presentation from the author. One of the great features of the evening was building a meal around something in the book that honored the author and delighted the audience. We pulled a fun excerpt about food from the novel and Michelle Zick, who was a chef in the café kitchen, created a delicious meal to compliment the experience.
The memory of the whole experience returned to me with warmth and pleasure as I read Dawn’s new book. I remember being so moved by time spent that evening with Dawn that before she left I gave her something of mine that she had admired and that was precious to me. She inspires that kind of response, and in this new book I feel her openness and graceful presence again.
Especially in the last third of Bronzeville I felt Dawn’s mature expression of great grief, loss, acceptance, and then continued resilience. Her willingness to be so vulnerable, to open her life to strangers in this most personal narrative, is moving and provocative.
This is my thank you to Dawn. For who she is, and for all that she has been willing to share with us.
Coming In September…
I’ve been cherry-picking a few titles from the early fall lists to highlight here. These September titles will be arriving in the next few weeks so check out our list Falling In Love With Fall Books to see some exciting new books for adults and kids.
Don’t miss a couple of international gems being published through HarperVia: Olga, by German author Bernhard Schlink, and Summer Light, and Then Comes The Night, by Icelandic author Jón Kalmon Stefánsson. I highly recommend both.