Thursday, November 28, 2019

Six novels that capture Detroit, past & present

Jodie Adams Kirshner is a research professor at New York University. Previously on the law faculty at Cambridge University, she also teaches bankruptcy law at Columbia Law School. She is a member of the American Law Institute, past term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and technical advisor to the Bank for International Settlements.

Kirshner received a prestigious multi-year grant from the Kresge Foundation to research her new book, Broke: Hardship and Resilience in a City of Broken Promises.

At LitHub she tagged six novels set in Detroit that capture the feeling of the city’s present and past. One title on the list:
Angela Flournoy, The Turner House

Another recent debut novel, The Turner House, charts the lives of a family of thirteen siblings as they determine what to do with their family house on Detroit’s eastside. The book offers a slow-paced, character-driven exploration of complex family relationships, but, as in [Stephen Mack Jones's] August Snow, the city itself becomes a force driving events. The book vividly describes the family’s earlier migration to the city to escape the Jim Crow South, only to encounter housing and job discrimination there. In the aftermath of the recent financial crisis, the family must now navigate the city’s poverty and housing challenges. The family house has fallen to one tenth the value of its mortgage, and the garage is stolen for scrap metal.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue