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With a Foreword by James Baldwin

‘Beautiful, timeless and relevant’ Jacqueline Woodson


‘A most important novel’ Paule Marshall

‘A considerable achievement’ James Baldwin

Depression-era Harlem is home for twelve-year-old Francie Coffin and her family, and it’s both a place of refuge and of danger. Her beloved father becomes a number runner when he is unable to find legal work, and while one of Francie’s brothers dreams of becoming a chemist, the other is in a gang. Francie, too, is a dreamer, but women in her neighbourhood have limited prospects, either selling their bodies on the streets, running poker games or having a baby every year. There are risks in everything, from going to the movies to walking down the block.

Reviews

'A remarkable heroine. Tough, resourceful, darting around Harlem with the number slips for her father tucked in her middy-blouse pocket, she is, at the same time, vulnerable, innocent, a dreamer . . . The novel's greatest achievement lies in the strong sense of black life that it conveys: the vitality and force behind the despair. It celebrates the positive values of the black experience: the tenderness and love that often underlie the abrasive surface of relationships . . . the humour that has long been an important part of the black survival kit, and the heroism of ordinary folk . . . A most important novel'
Paule Marshall, New York Times Book Review
Beautiful, timeless and relevant
Jacqueline Woodson
Louise Meriwether has told everyone who can read or feel what it means to be a black man or woman in this country ... A considerable achievement
James Baldwin