Nowhere Is a Place

Nowhere Is a Place

4.4 10
by Bernice L. McFadden
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

"Compelling, beautifully written, and profoundly human, McFadden has conjured a tale of a fractured family who journey across the country and back through history to unearth painful truths that unexpectedly reshape their relationships with each other."
—Lynn Nottage, playwright, author of Intimate Apparel

"An engrossing multigenerational

Overview

"Compelling, beautifully written, and profoundly human, McFadden has conjured a tale of a fractured family who journey across the country and back through history to unearth painful truths that unexpectedly reshape their relationships with each other."
—Lynn Nottage, playwright, author of Intimate Apparel

"An engrossing multigenerational saga . . . With her deep engagement in the material and her brisk but lyrical prose, McFadden creates a poignant epic of resiliency, bringing Sherry to a well-earned awareness of her place atop the shoulders of her ancestors, those who survived so that she might one day, too." —Publishers Weekly

"Telling her story from two perspectives and on two levels—the mother-daughter relationship and Sherry's fictional account—McFadden brings added texture to this story of reconciliation."
—Booklist

Nothing can mend a broken heart quite like family. Sherry has struggled all her life to understand who she is, where she comes from, and, most important, why her mother slapped her cheek one summer afternoon. The incident has haunted Sherry, and it causes her to dig into her family's past. Like many family histories, it is fractured and stubbornly reluctant to reveal its secrets; but Sherry is determined to know the full story. In just a few days' time, her extended family will gather for a reunion, and Sherry sets off across the country with her mother, Dumpling, to join them. What Sherry and Dumpling find on their trip is far more important than scenic sites here and there—it is the assorted pieces of their family's past. Pulled together, they reveal a history of amazing survival and abundant joy.

Bernice L. McFadden is the author of eight critically acclaimed novels including the classic Sugar, Gathering of Waters (a New York Times Editors' Choice), and Glorious, which was featured in O, The Oprah Magazine and was a finalist for the NAACP Image Award. She is a two-time Hurston/Wright Legacy Award finalist, as well as the recipient of two fiction honor awards from the BCALA. Her sophomore novel, The Warmest December, was praised by Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison as "searing and expertly imagined." McFadden lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Praise for Gathering of Waters by Bernice L. McFadden:

"McFadden works a kind of miracle—not only do [her characters] retain their appealing humanity; their story eclipses the bonds of history to offer continuous surprises. . . . While they inhabit these pages they live, and they do so gloriously and messily and magically, so that we are at last sorry to see them go, and we sit with those small moments we had with them and worry over them, enchanted, until they become something like our own memories, dimmed by time, but alive with the ghosts of the past, and burning with spirits."—Jesmyn Ward, The New York Times Book Review (editors' choice), on Gathering of Waters

Sherry has struggled all her life to understand who she is, where she comes from, and, most important, why her mother slapped her cheek one summer afternoon. The incident has haunted Sherry, and it causes her to dig into her family's history, which is fractured and stubbornly reluctant to reveal its secrets, but Sherry is determined to know the full story.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
McFadden's Sugar and other titles remain key recent novels of black women's search for, and claiming of, origins; this flawed but engrossing multigenerational saga takes its place among them. Pregnant and chronically "displaced" at 38, Sherry sets off with her mother, Dumpling, on a road trip from Nevada to a family reunion in Georgia. Along the way, she presses the reluctant Dumpling for family stories, intending to write a history as a project of self-discovery. The road trip sections are awkward and perfunctory, but Sherry's transformations of Dumpling's stories-creating a book-within-a-book reaching back 150 years-are terrific. One memorable section relates how a group of slaves cannily manages to take over the plantation from its deranged master; a later section tells of Dumpling's mother, Lillie, who fled Georgia for a wild life in Philadelphia; a puzzling slap Sherry received from Dumpling at a family get-together is also eventually explained. With her deep engagement in the material and her brisk but lyrical prose, McFadden creates a poignant epic of resiliency, bringing Sherry to a well-earned awareness of her place atop the shoulders of her ancestors, those who survived so that she might one day, too. (Feb.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Pregnant and unsettled about her life's direction, Sherry, an African American, persuades her mother, Clementine "Dumpling" Jackson, to drive with her from Nevada to Georgia for a family reunion. Sherry, now in her thirties, has been traveling the world, drifting from man to man trying to find where she belongs. She has been mostly estranged from her mother since taking up with a white piano player. Catching him cheating, Sherry leaves Chicago for Mexico, where she meets a new man. To continue her recovery, she wants to write a book in order to understand her past. Once on the road, Sherry shares her plan and asks Dumpling to tell her some of the family tales. McFadden (Sugar) cleverly weaves this story within a story, sparing little of the murder, rape, and incest the family has endured. While emotional, McFadden's prose avoids sentimentality as it traces Sherry's journey to understanding and forgiveness. Myra Lucretia Taylor's reading adds vitality to the story and skillfully captures the dialects of Dumpling and her descendants. Recommended for larger public libraries.-Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A displaced African-American woman and her estranged mother rediscover their heritage and each other en route to a family reunion in rural Georgia. With a fine new man and baby on the way, free spirit Sherry feels her life is finally on track, but she also realizes she cannot move forward without facing certain events from her past, including an inexplicable moment of violence in her childhood that distanced her from her mother Clementine "Dumpling" Jackson. With reconciliation and resolution on her mind, Sherry convinces her mother to drive with her to their ancestral home of Sandersville, Ga., to attend a family reunion. Along the way, Sherry questions her mother about their shared ancestry in the hopes of writing a family history. The story then shifts to Sherry's imagined version of that history, beginning with her Yamasee Indian great-grandmother Lou, who was abducted in childhood and sold into slavery. The resilient Lou has three children with fellow slave Buena Vista, all the while facing one harrowing experience after another. After the Civil War, and unaware that slavery has ended, Lou's children Jeff and Suce take over their cotton plantation from their weakened master and participate in several brutal (and perhaps justifiable) acts that foreshadow much of the family's tragedy for generations to come. Dealing with murder, rape and incest, this often grim tale is lightened considerably by a no-nonsense running commentary from the lovably flawed Dumpling, who thinks the past should be let go. Well paced, with excellent dialogue, Sherry's story-within-a-story is sometimes hampered by southern gothic cliches. Assured and engrossing tale of survival and forgiveness.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781617751318
Publisher:
Akashic Books
Publication date:
02/05/2013
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
604,628
Product dimensions:
8.10(w) x 5.20(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author


Bernice L. McFadden: Bernice L. McFadden is the author of eight critically acclaimed novels including the classic Sugar, Gathering of Waters, and Glorious, which was featured in O, The Oprah Magazine, selected as the debut title for the One Book, One Harlem program, and was a finalist for the NAACP Image Award. She is a two-time Hurston/Wright Legacy Award finalist, as well as the recipient of two fiction honor awards from the BCALA. Her sophomore novel, The Warmest December, was praised by Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison as "searing and expertly imagined." McFadden lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Nowhere Is a Place 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was one of macfadden best. I could not put it down . I wish only that she would have said what finally happened to Vonnie . I would recomend this book to everyone it is amazing truly amazing.
OOSABookClub More than 1 year ago
Sherry and her mother Dumpling have never had the best relationship. As the middle child, Sherry has never received a lot of her mother’s attention or affection. After another failed romantic relationship, Sherry begins to realize that the key to her unhappiness lies in the past. So she sets out on a road trip with her mother to discuss the past and unlock the demons that have plagued their relationship for years. Alternating between the present and the past, McFadden skillfully weaves a tale of generations of women who have seen and experienced unbelievable horrors. It is through these tales that the reader discovers the reasons for the strained relationship between mother and daughter, past and present. Hauntingly detailed, the characters in this novel will stay with you long after the last page has been read. “Nowhere is a Place” is an engaging story but the ending seemed a bit rushed and forced. If there had been a bit more details at the end, this novel would have been a 5-star read. Reviewed by: Flashette
Guest More than 1 year ago
Nowhere Is A Place is the story of redemption,secrets, and dissapointment. A good novel to read for Black History Month.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although this novel was not as emotional and home-hitting as Ms. McFadden's other books Sugar and the Warmest December which are my favorites, this book certainly encouraged me to complete my own family tree. For that, I wish to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to Ms. McFadden. Keep inspiring us because a lot of us REALLY need it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Family, we don't choose them. We are not able to pick. Family, we must make the most of what we have. Family is not perfect, family will make mistakes but family must learn to forgive and move on. Family is all that you have. Family, love and respect it. Family, never forget the past. Family, look to the future.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I would highly recommend this book. Love all of McFadden's novels. I love the way she connects with the past and helps us to remember our history. This book would leave you thinking about your family secrets and how we need to deal with them. Instead of hiding them in the closet.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Nowhere is a place, in my opinion, is Ms. McFadden's most provocative novel to date. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am waiting anxiously for her next creation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read several books by thie author. This was no my favorite book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago