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The Narrows: A Novel [Paperback]

Ann Petry , Nellie McKay
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 1, 1999 0618007105 978-0618007103
When Link Williams, a college-educated twenty-six-year-old African-American man, falls for Camilo Sheffield, a wealthy married white woman, things will never be the same in the sleepy New England town of Monmouth, Connecticut. Set in the 1950s, this unforgettable classic deftly evokes a tragic love affair and offers a window onto the powerful ways in which class, race, and love intersected in midcentury America.

Editorial Reviews


"A novel about racial conflict, The Narrows resists classification . . . Ann Petry has achieved something as rare as it is commendable." -- Arna Bontemps

"Using a theme that might have been merely sensational, [Petry] builds a novel that has depth and dignity." The New York Herald-Tribune

About the Author

Ann Petry (1908-1997), a black novelist, short story writer, and writer of books for young people, is 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. Mrs. Petry has written two more novels, The Country Place and The Narrows, and numerous short stories, articles and children's books. In addition, she was appointed visiting professor of English at the University of Hawaii (1944 - 45) and has lectured widely throughout the United States. Ann returned with her husband to Old Saybrook in 1947 and lived there until here death. They have one daughter.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (September 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618007105
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618007103
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,957,717 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless Writing September 4, 2000
The Narrows was written in 1953. Amazing. Timeless love story of a Dartmouth grad of history who happens to be black and a rich married heiress who happens to be white. Their lives intersect one night in Harlem and continue down a dangerous road of love, passion, and retribution. The star of the book is Link Williams, a young man adopted at the age of eight by Abbie Crunch and the Major. When the Major dies, Link feels invisible and finds a new home in the Last Chance bar where Bill Hod becomes his surrogate father, teaching Link what it means to be a man, a black man.
He grows up strong and intelligent, but faltering in one area. The area of love. The woman that he chooses, the one he wants to marry unbeknownst to him is already married. Worst of all she is white. This breaks many hearts, the people who have loved him and taken care of him, Abbie Crunch, Weak Knees, Bill Hod, and the rest of the Last Chance patrons where Link is the heart and soul, all watch as he make this fatal mistake.
Phenomenal writing, literature, pure art without the sensationalism that is prevalent in our books today.
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Ann Petry combines the heartfelt social justice sensibilities of John Steinbeck with the psychological suspense of Alfred Hitchcock. Far ahead of her time, she sold more than a million copies of her first novel, The Street. Her novels reflect the world she lived in, where the deck was stacked against black Americans, whose valiant attempts to beat the odds, or simply survive, are at the heart of her stories. I hope someone writes a biography of her someday.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars forbidden love in new england January 30, 2001
this one is about a interracial couple in connecticut in the 1950' petry manages to handle this story with a cool handle never allow it to become merely tabloid fodder..some of the other plots that were interesting was link's relationship with bill hod, who was practically his father and the butler who marries a promisculous heavy-set black women...
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I purchased this book because I loved "The Street".

However, I find this book to be very difficult to read. It is a slow read and hard to follow.

I don't think that I will be able to continue reading this book.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great novel March 21, 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Such a great novel. Unfortunately I lost my book and had to purchase again. This is the only book a repurchased in my life. Love the story and rereading it again and taking notes this time. I love how Ann Petry writes, for example, she uses phrases like "Bible carriers". Love this book!!!
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