THE STREET by Ann Petry
Kirkus Star


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An exceptional first novel, in which the case for the Negro is less savage, less sanguinary than Richard Wright's Black oy, and which, through the story of a young woman, Lutie Johnson, achieves a strong emotional effect. Sensitive, responsive, realistic, Lutie Johnson is a more definite, more articulate (if as sympathetic) portrayal than Lillian Smith's Nonie Anderson, -- records the common hopes and hopelessness of her people. The Street is 116th Street in Harlem, where Lutie found a small, dark apartment for herself and her son Bub, to get him away from a drinking grandfather and give him a decent home after too much poverty had ended her marriage. Here, on the street, she fought off the lewd approaches of a sex-obsessed, cellar crazy Super, -- by passed the opening to easy money through Junto, rich and white -- who liked them young and dark, and Boots Smith, bandleader and pimp for Junto. And finally, when the Super, in spite, gets Bub in trouble with the police, Lutie tries to borrow the money to get him clear, refuses the price, and kills in self defense. In spite of the runaway successes of Native Son, Strange Fruit, books such as this are conjectural. This however does combine literary distinction with a sobering, saddening drama, the realization of the inevitable premium of a dark skin, -- and is a Houghton, Mifflin Literary Fellowship award.

Pub Date: Jan. 23rd, 1945
ISBN: 0395901499
Publisher: Houghton, Mifflin