Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Brown Girl, Brownstones Paperback – January 15, 2009
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From the Back Cover
"An unforgettable novel, written with pride and anger, with rebellion and tears."—Herald Tribune Book Review
"Passionate, compelling . . . an impressive accomplishment."—Saturday Review
"Remarkable for its courage, its color, and its natural control."—The New Yorker
Selina's mother wants to stay in Brooklyn and earn enough money to buy a brownstone row house, but her father dreams only of returning to his island home. Torn between a romantic nostalgia for the past and a driving ambition for the future, Selina also faces the everyday burdens of poverty and racism.
Written by and about an African-American woman, this coming-of-age story unfolds during the Depression and World War II. Its setting—a close-knit community of immigrants from Barbados—is drawn from the author's own experience, as are the lilting accents and vivid idioms of the characters' speech. Paule Marshall's 1959 novel was among the first to portray the inner life of a young female African-American, as well as depicting the cross-cultural conflict between West Indians and American blacks. It remains a vibrant, compelling tale of self-discovery.
Dover (2009) unabridged republication of the edition published by Random House, Inc., New York, 1959.
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
It is from that heritage that the author drew in creating her characters and developing their rich mix of personalities, as she re-created the early Barbadian immigrant experience in post-depression era Brooklyn. The book focuses on the Boyces, a nuclear family consisting of Silla, the ambitious, hard working, ever striving mother, Deighton, her charming, pie-in-the-sky dreamer of a husband, and their two daughters, Ina, the older and more passive one, and Selina, the bright, rebellious one. The novel follows the fortunes of the Boyce family from the late 1930s until shortly after Word War II. It tells of their lives, their hopes, and their dreams.
The book beautifully details the experience of the early Barbadian immigrants in Brooklyn and their adjustment to their new environment. They brought with them their own ideas, their own ways of doing things, and a work ethic that is hard to beat. Quite frankly, Barbadians revitalized areas of Brooklyn that were dormant. Theirs was an almost traditional immigrant experience, but for the racism that they were to encounter here. Still, they did not allow that to stand in their way from getting ahead and going for the American dream.
This book neatly encapsulates that immigrant experience through the Boyce family.Read more ›
I found the narrative sometimes overly descriptive, especially in the preoccupation with sunlight and shadow. The brownstones and the streets often seemed like dark and brooding places.
My maternal grandparents were from Bardados, while my paternal grandfather was from St. Eustacia. I also grew up in Brooklyn (in a brownstone). Therefore, the landscape and the characters were very familiar. In fact, Claremont Sealy and Clive Springer are probably my cousins! A most enjoyable and thought provoking book. I look forward to reading more of Ms Marshall's book.
if you dont understand what Marshall is doing here, either take your loss silently and move on, or, better yet, research! read more! try and understand lyricism and poetics, the beauty of creatively accurate description. that's just the thing; we're so a-creative these days its opprobrious. to the self-professed white jewish girl in the suburbs who will probably never return to read this, there are cultures and worlds outside of your own that in fact do affect you. anyone who walks around thinking otherwise is foolish. immigrants havent played a role in the development of modern America? please. Brown Girl, Brownstones is not only important for its beauty, but also for its capturing of Barbadian immigrants in Brooklyn around the time of World War II. the dialect and cadence of their speech is vibrantly bottled in the novel; someone said its hard to read.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I tired of her outbursts for which she had no explanations.Published 6 months ago by Danah Richardson
A good read for those who like literary fiction. Would be a challenge for those who want an escapist, simplistic read.Published 13 months ago by Opinionated
Perhaps one of the most important books I've ever read in terms of immigrant or personal survival. This books highlights the struggle of women in a foreign land, trying to make a... Read morePublished 21 months ago by E. Lundy
I like the beginning the conflict between the father and the mother seen by Selina but as that subsides and Selina's begins to take center stage, I found her a complex yet boring... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Matthew
Interesting to read about Barbadians in New York during that period, as this was a combination I knew little about although it has been on my list of things to read being curious... Read morePublished 23 months ago by macoffkilter
A little while ago I reviewed Jonathan Lethem's The Fortress of Solitude, a partly brilliant, partly dopey, semi-autobiographical novel about growing up in Brooklyn in the 1970s. Read morePublished on October 8, 2013 by Cary Watson