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The Street: A Novel Paperback – March 15, 1998

4.1 out of 5 stars 142 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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." Newsday

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.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 435 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; unknown edition (March 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395901499
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395901496
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,892 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I came across this book as a 1970 edition paperback, with a 'blaxploitation' looking woman dressed in colorful clothing c. 1970... It looked like a 1960s ghetto story... I was surprised to see the 1946 publishing date after I read a few chapters and found out that the story takes place in 1944...

Anyone who wonders about race relations, the 'ghetto', the plight of black men finding jobs and fitting into society should read this book; it lays it all plain, and the fact that it takes place in 1944 is all the more revealing in that the ghetto has probably been here all along since after slavery, as an extension of slavery... The book could very well have taken place in 1970, just with different vices and prices and popular music; the story would be the same...

This book is truly haunting for anyone who wants to know what America is really like underneath; there is a color barrier, and a land of haves and have nots, and not enough decent jobs to go around...

Also surprising is that this book was not already made into a movie, since it screams out cinematically... even with its rawest of subject matter, I could picture Halle Berry as the lead, a Morgan Freeman as Jones, Wesley Snipes as Boots, etc. It would be surely controversial, since a lot of its strongest lines and ideas are a bare condemnation of the America societal system, history, economy, and the creators of the 'United States' and the Euro-American cultural millieu...
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Format: Paperback
I find it telling that everyone who has something bad to say about this book mentions that it is either depressing or about black or poor people. It makes me sad that people cannot appreciate an intricate and complex novel because it reminds them of things they don't want to think about. This novel deals with the complex and varied perspectives that exist within the smallest units of urban space, and the how our lives can be affected in powerful ways by the actions of people who are only peripheral to our daily existence. Since some people have a problem with reading sad or realistic books, I would say this one is for grown-ups of any age.
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Format: Paperback
This is one of the best books that I have ever read. In a very simple, straight forward way, Ann Petrie takes us step by painful step through the life of an African American woman trying desperately to raise a healthy male child and to establish a better life for herself. What we see is that despite heroic determination, the system is structured to wear down and push against her very best efforts. Without preaching, the book takes us on a journey that helps us experience the dynamics of poverty and understand the thought processes of people trapped in it. This is a 'must read' book for anyone seeking to better understand the lives of those who can't seem to pull themselves out of poverty and it is a 'must read' book for policy makers, social workers and anyone working with people caught in the nexus of race and poverty. In addition, Ann Petrie is an excellent writer. She paints word pictures and maintains a breath-taking momentum from beginning to end.
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Format: Paperback
This book was lent to me by a friend who described it as "a little jewel." She was right. Ann Petry has captured the essence of a tragic life - a mother's heart filled with hopes and dreams for her young son - beaten down by the street she is forced to call home . Memorable characters - memorable ending. A very moving and insightful story. Written in 1946, this story is timeless, and well-worth the read. I couldn't put it down.
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Format: Paperback
Even though the story takes the view mainly from Lutie, Petry does leap into the viewpoint of the other characters to get a dark look into the mindset caused by oppressive conditions. It's interesting to just imagine life in an urban poor neighborhood and the way it can distort and shape the dreams of working folk. Another good title for this would have been "Dreams Deferred" because you get a sense of that throughout the novel. It's important to remember when reading the novel that the American Dream gave the working class a purpose in their efforts but for blacks at that time the dream was always above a glass ceiling.
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By A Customer on March 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
The Steet by Ann Petry is an emotionaly powerful book that was much ahead of its time. Her writing is in a sort of vernacular style, but with very vivid descriptions. Though worded relatively simply, Petry is able to describe details in a way as to give the reader a constant mental image and understanding of all of the story's events. She effectively engages the reader by shifting the perspective to include the feelings of all the main characters. This book was ahead of its time in that Petry is able to describe in great detail the power that situational factors have on different people. This is something of an accomplishment considering that social psychology was, at the time that this book was written, a new science. Overall, this novel is a timeless classic that should be enjoyed for many years to come.
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