WITH A NEW INTRODUCTION FROM NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLING AUTHOR TAYARI JONES
“How can a novel’s social criticism be so unflinching and clear, yet its plot moves like a house on fire? I am tempted to describe Petry as a magician for the many ways that The Street amazes, but this description cheapens her talent . . . Petry is a gifted artist.” — Tayari Jones, from the Introduction
The Street follows the spirited Lutie Johnson, a newly single mother whose efforts to claim a share of the American Dream for herself and her young son meet frustration at every turn in 1940s Harlem. Opening a fresh perspective on the realities and challenges of black, female, working-class life, The Street became the first novel by an African American woman to sell more than a million copies.
About the Author
Ann Petry (1908–1997), novelist, short story writer, and writer of books for young people, was one of America’s most distinguished authors. Ann began by studying pharmacology, and in 1934 received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Connecticut College of Pharmacy. She worked as a registered pharmacist in Old Saybrook and in Lyme, and during these years wrote several short stories. When she married George David Petry in 1938, the course of her life changed. They lived in New York City, and Ann went to work for the Harlem Amsterdam News. By 1941, she was covering general news stories and editing the women’s pages of the People’s Voice in Harlem. Her first published story appeared in 1943 in the Crisis, a magazine published monthly by the NAACP. Subsequent to that, she began work on her first novel, The Street, which was published in 1946 and for which she received the Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship. Petry wrote two more novels, The Country Place and The Narrows, and numerous short stories, articles, and children’s books.
New York Times best-selling author Tayari Jones is the author of four novels, including An American Marriage, Silver Sparrow, The Untelling, and Leaving Atlanta. Jones holds degrees from Spelman College, Arizona State University, and the University of Iowa. A winner of numerous literary awards, she is a professor of creative writing at Emory University.
“Petry is the writer we have been waiting for; hers are the stories we need to fully illuminate the questions of our moment, while also offering a page-turning good time. Ann Petry, the woman, had it all, and so does her insightful, prescient and unputdownable prose.”
— Tayari Jones, New York Times Book Review
“A major literary invention . . . A truly great book.”
—The Los Angeles Times
“Overflows with the classic pity and terror of good imaginative writing.”
—The New York Times
“A powerful, uncompromising work of social criticism. To this day, few works of fiction have so clearly illuminated the devastating impact of racial injustice.”
—Coretta Scott King
“A classic of American realism . . . The Street rushes toward its fatalistic climax like a train toward a washed-out bridge.”