Please join us for a discussion of James McBride’s The Heaven and Earth Grocery Store (2023). Books can be obtained at Barnes & Noble in State College or over Amazon. A few copies will be available for sale at Coffee Hour on December 10 and December 17.
The discussion will be led by Leslie Brown, who has this to say about the book and its author:
Selecting a work of fiction for this venue is out of the ordinary, but the literary genre can show us much about living as a person of color in past and present America. I have read most of McBride’s novels that feature a variety of settings and historical contexts and have loved them all. The Good Lord Bird, for which McBride received a National Book Award, is set in the 1850s in the maelstrom of John Brown’s infamous uprising against the U.S. government. But HEGS stands at the top of my Favorites list, in part because its historical context resonates with us: 1930s Pottstown, PA. Two groups of “other” Americans—Blacks and Jews—live, die, struggle, and strive to thrive together within a neglected community that must depend exclusively on its own resilience and resourcefulness. The diversity of characters makes for a lively tail of collaboration to rescue a Black child from the horrors of the notorious mental institution, Pennhurst. McBride educates, intrigues, and entertains the reader, but what is essential is that he makes us feel.
Questions or ideas? Please contact Leslie Brown.