The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store: A Novel

· Sold by Penguin
4.2
52 reviews
Ebook
400
Pages
Eligible

About this ebook

THE RUNAWAY NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK

WINNER OF THE 2024 LIBRARY OF CONGRESS PRIZE FOR AMERICAN FICTION

FROM ONE OF TIME MAGAZINE'S 100 MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE OF 2024

NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY NPR/FRESH AIR, WASHINGTON POST, THE NEW YORKER, AND TIME MAGAZINE

ONE OF BARACK OBAMA'S FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2023

“A murder mystery locked inside a Great American Novel . . . Charming, smart, heart-blistering, and heart-healing.” —Danez Smith, The New York Times Book Review

“We all need—we all deserve—this vibrant, love-affirming novel that bounds over any difference that claims to separate us.” —Ron Charles, The Washington Post

From James McBride, author of the bestselling Oprah’s Book Club pick Deacon King Kong and the National Book Award–winning The Good Lord Bird, a novel about small-town secrets and the people who keep them


In 1972, when workers in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, were digging the foundations for a new development, the last thing they expected to find was a skeleton at the bottom of a well. Who the skeleton was and how it got there were two of the long-held secrets kept by the residents of Chicken Hill, the dilapidated neighborhood where immigrant Jews and African Americans lived side by side and shared ambitions and sorrows. Chicken Hill was where Moshe and Chona Ludlow lived when Moshe integrated his theater and where Chona ran the Heaven & Earth Grocery Store. When the state came looking for a deaf boy to institutionalize him, it was Chona and Nate Timblin, the Black janitor at Moshe’s theater and the unofficial leader of the Black community on Chicken Hill, who worked together to keep the boy safe.

    As these characters’ stories overlap and deepen, it becomes clear how much the people who live on the margins of white, Christian America struggle and what they must do to survive. When the truth is finally revealed about what happened on Chicken Hill and the part the town’s white establishment played in it, McBride shows us that even in dark times, it is love and community—heaven and earth—that sustain us.

    Bringing his masterly storytelling skills and his deep faith in humanity to The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store, James McBride has written a novel as compassionate as Deacon King Kong and as inventive as The Good Lord Bird.

Ratings and reviews

4.2
52 reviews
Katrina Salé
February 3, 2024
I read this for book club, and while completely enjoyable from a historical fiction point of view, I felt there were other characters that i wanted to know more about that woukd have been maybe better to know a little more about. The huge lead up to the big event, all for the event to be one chapter felt rushed. I did enjoy all the rich historical points brought up and felt like I was there with all the characters. It kept me guessing and re-guessing after each chapter revealed a different layer of a character. Overall, once through a slower start I did enjoy the read, and found myself cheering on the ending. 4/5 stars.
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John Marshall
January 1, 2024
moving. colorful characters that light a dim reality for many. Mcbride is nothing short brilliant. I truly enjoyed reading the book - even though it is dark in parts. long live Nate Love. long live chicken hill.
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Toby A. Smith
January 24, 2024
4.5 stars for this great, universal American novel about the foibles we humans have and all we can accomplish when we work together.
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About the author

James McBride is the author of the New York Times–bestselling Oprah’s Book Club selection Deacon King Kong, the National Book Award–winning The Good Lord Bird, the American classic The Color of Water, the novels Song Yet Sung and Miracle at St. Anna, the story collection Five-Carat Soul, and Kill ’Em and Leave, a biography of James Brown. One of TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2024 and the recipient of a National Humanities Medal, as well as being an accomplished musician, McBride is a distinguished writer in residence at New York University.

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