I am devastated. Hurt to my core and in tears as I write that my absolute favorite author of all time, the award-winning Gloria Naylor, has passed away today at the tender age of 66.
Many know of her from the book and the TV movie starring Oprah Winfrey, “The Women of Brewster Place” but I fell in love with this woman and her words well before that. I fell in love with her when she offered the most precious gift imaginable with the book, Mama Day.
No other book has been able to capture my heart and my desire to write like this amazing novel has and I am truly in tears at the thought of this world no longer holding such a great woman in it.
If you have never read a book of hers I implore you to do so today. Her words are raw, empowering, full of magic and power and will leave you feeling closer to her, her blackness and your very own. I love Mama Day, Linden Hills, Bailey’s Cafe, and The Women Of Brewster Place in that order but I urge you to pick up just one of her stunning pieces of work so you can experience the true sense of a black woman telling a story.
You will be most missed Ms. Naylor,
On the island of Willow Springs, off the Georgia coast, the powers of healer Mama Day are tested by her great niece, Cocoa, a stubbornly emancipated woman endangered by the island’s darker forces. A powerful generational saga at once tender and suspenseful, overflowing with magic and common sense.
A world away from Brewster Place, yet intimately connected to it, lies Linden Hills. With its showcase homes, elegant lawns, and other trappings of wealth, Linden Hills is not unlike other affluent black communities. But residence in this community is indisputable evidence of “making it.” Although no one knows what the precise qualifications are, everyone knows that only certain people get to live there—and that they want to be among them.
Once people get to Linden Hills, the quest continues, more subtle, but equally fierce: the goal is a house on Tupelo Drive, the epitome of achievement and visible success. No one notices that the property on Tupelo Drive goes back on sale quickly; no one questions why there are always vacancies at Linden Hills.
In a resonant novel that takes as its model Dante’s Inferno, Gloria Naylor reveals the truth about the American dream—that the price of success may very well be a journey down to the lowest circle of hell.
Set in a diner where the food isn’t very good and the ambience veers between heaven and hell, this bestselling novel from the author of Mama Day and The Women of Brewster Place is a feast for the senses and the spirit. “A virtuoso orchestration of survival, suffering, courage and humor.”–New York Times Book Review.
Once the home of poor Irish and Italian immigrants, Brewster Place, a rotting tenement on a dead-end street, now shelters black families. This novel portrays the courage, the fear, and the anguish of some of the women there who hold their families together, trying to make a home. Among them are: Mattie Michael, the matriarch who loses her son to prison; Etta Mae Johnson who tries to trade the ‘high life’ for marriage with a local preacher; Kiswana Browne who leaves her middle-class family to organize a tenant’s union.