The Street, by Ann Petry
“This 1946 novel inspired my thinking about how to translate the desperation of people pushing against the conventions of their time. Petry’s voice is unsparing in her story of a woman in 1940s Harlem facing the confines of caste, class, race, and gender as she tries to make a way for herself and her son in a world in which the street is a menacing, breathing thing. The book rings as true today as when it was written.”
Recommended by Isabel Wilkerson, the author of the nonfiction book The Warmth of Other Suns ($17, amazon.com).
To buy: $15, amazon.com.