All-Bright Court: A Novel

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A New York Times Notable Book: A novel spanning two decades in the lives of an African American family as their upstate New York steel town slowly decays.
 
Set just outside Buffalo, New York, during the 1960s and ’70s, All-Bright Court paints a portrait of the Taylor family—starting with hopeful dreams as Samuel Taylor and his wife, Mary Kate, migrate from the South looking for better opportunities and a place to raise a family, and continuing through the decline of the steel industry as they, their five children, and their neighbors on All-Bright Court struggle with both new challenges and old prejudices.
 
“In a clear, quiet but powerful prose reminiscent of Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio, the author draws the gaudily painted, rundown bungalows of All-Bright Court and peoples it convincingly. . . . The working conditions in the steel mills and the politics of the union hall are well rendered, but it is in the details of family life that the novel comes alive.” —Kirkus Reviews
 
“Porter has mapped a rich fictional world. . . . This is a powerful and affecting debut.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
 
“An honest portrayal of folks who learned that the dream of economic freedom wasn’t waiting for them ‘up north.’” —Terry McMillan, New York Times–bestselling author of I Almost Forgot About You
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About the author

Connie R. Porter is the author of All-Bright Court, Imani All Mine, and the Addy books in the Pleasant Company's American Girls series, which has sold more than three million copies. Porter was a fellow at Bread Loaf and was named a regional winner in Granta's Best Young American Novelist contest.
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Additional Information

Publisher
HMH
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Published on
Aug 26, 2014
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Pages
240
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ISBN
9780544391208
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / African American / General
Fiction / Family Life / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

In this bravura follow-up to the Pulitzer Prize, and National Book Award-winning #1 New York Times bestseller The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead brilliantly dramatizes another strand of American history through the story of two boys sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida.

As the Civil Rights movement begins to reach the black enclave of Frenchtown in segregated Tallahassee, Elwood Curtis takes the words of Dr. Martin Luther King to heart: He is "as good as anyone." Abandoned by his parents, but kept on the straight and narrow by his grandmother, Elwood is about to enroll in the local black college. But for a black boy in the Jim Crow South of the early 1960s, one innocent mistake is enough to destroy the future. Elwood is sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy, whose mission statement says it provides "physical, intellectual and moral training" so the delinquent boys in their charge can become "honorable and honest men."
In reality, the Nickel Academy is a grotesque chamber of horrors where the sadistic staff beats and sexually abuses the students, corrupt officials and locals steal food and supplies, and any boy who resists is likely to disappear "out back." Stunned to find himself in such a vicious environment, Elwood tries to hold onto Dr. King's ringing assertion "Throw us in jail and we will still love you." His friend Turner thinks Elwood is worse than naive, that the world is crooked, and that the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble.
The tension between Elwood's ideals and Turner's skepticism leads to a decision whose repercussions will echo down the decades. Formed in the crucible of the evils Jim Crow wrought, the boys' fates will be determined by what they endured at the Nickel Academy.
Based on the real story of a reform school in Florida that operated for one hundred and eleven years and warped the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys is a devastating, driven narrative that showcases a great American novelist writing at the height of his powers.
A NEW YORK TIMES AND WASHINGTON POST NOTABLE BOOK

A 2018 BEST OF THE YEAR SELECTION OF NPR  * TIME  * BUSTLE  * O, THE OPRAH MAGAZINE  * THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS  * AMAZON.COM

OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB 2018 SELECTION

LONGLISTED FOR THE 2018 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION

“A moving portrayal of the effects of a wrongful conviction on a young African-American couple.” —Barack Obama

“Haunting . . . Beautifully written.” —The New York Times Book Review
 
“Brilliant and heartbreaking . . . Unforgettable.” —USA Today
 
“A tense and timely love story . . . Packed with brave questions about race and class.” —People
 
“Compelling.” —The Washington Post
 
“Epic . . . Transcendent . . . Triumphant.” —Elle

Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.
 
This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward—with hope and pain—into the future.
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