In an essay for The New York Times, Tayari Jones celebrates the luminary but oft-forgotten Ann Petry, who, as a black female author in 1946, sold over 1.5 million copies of her seminal novel, The Street. In arguing for a Petry revival, and for the timelessness of The Street’s heroine, Lutie, Tayari writes, “Petry engages the issues of her day, which sadly are the issues of our day as well. At every turn, Lutie confronts that many-headed hydra of racism, sexism and classism….For Lutie there is no #MeToo movement. Ronan Farrow will not be calling her for a quote. Her experience more than fifty years ago is very similar to that of women today who are poor and of color. She must save herself, understanding that there will be devastating consequences for standing her ground.”
To read “In Praise of Ann Petry” its entirety, click here.