The Richer, the Poorer: Stories, Sketches and Reminiscences

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The stories contained here are as American as jazz, and as wise and multifaceted as their writer. Dorothy West's metier is the unique crucible in which America places its black middle class, but her themes are universal: the daily misunderstandings between young and old, men and women, rich and poor that can lead to tragedy; and the ways in which bonds of family and community can bring us together, and tear us asunder. Dorothy West's autobiographical essays explore the poles of her remarkable life - from growing ...
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1995 Hardcover Good Connecting readers with great books since 1972. Used books may not include companion materials, some shelf wear, may contain highlighting/notes, and may not ... include cd-rom or access codes. Customer service is our top priority! Read more Show Less

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Overview

The stories contained here are as American as jazz, and as wise and multifaceted as their writer. Dorothy West's metier is the unique crucible in which America places its black middle class, but her themes are universal: the daily misunderstandings between young and old, men and women, rich and poor that can lead to tragedy; and the ways in which bonds of family and community can bring us together, and tear us asunder. Dorothy West's autobiographical essays explore the poles of her remarkable life - from growing up black and middle-class in Boston to her near-mythic trip to Moscow in 1933 with Langston Hughes and other Harlem Renaissance writers to life on her beloved Martha's Vineyard. They cohere into a beautiful and poignant memoir of a singular American life, a memoir that communicates with her short stories in a host of fertile ways. Taken as a whole, The Richer, The Poorer is a triumphant celebration of the life and work of one of America's genuine treasures.

Featuring an introduction by Mary Helen Washington, this luminous collection of Harlem Renaissance grande dame Dorothy West's greatest writing, both fictional and autobiographical, touches on everything from growing up black and middle class in Boston to West's famous 1933 trip to Moscow with Langston Hughes.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Drawing on a career spanning almost 70 years, this selection of fiction and essays provides an overview of the work of one of the enduring figures of the Harlem Renaissance. (July)
Library Journal
True, West just made waves with her second novel, The Wedding (LJ 12/94)-published 46 years after she debuted with The Living Is Easy-but she is best known for her short stories. This last living member of the Harlem Renaissance here collects all her classic short works and augments them with some autobiographical sketches.
Brad Hooper
West is the last surviving participant in the Harlem Renaissance, the explosion of black arts and literature centered in Harlem between the two world wars. Her recent novel, "The Wedding" , which was her first publication in more than 40 years, scored high marks with critics and the reading public alike. Arriving in its wake is a compilation of West's short stories and autobiographical essays. This book may be somewhat a lesser work than "The Wedding" and her other novels, but it's still remarkable reading. That West was an excellent writer early in her life is evidenced in her first story, written at age 17, "The Typewriter." But two of the best stories included in this collection are "The Roomer" and "The Richer, the Poorer." "The Roomer" features a woman who has to explain to her tight husband an extravagant purchase--a new winter coat. "The Richer, the Poorer" is a delicious parable about two sisters, one who saves for a rainy day, the other who doesn't; but it's the former sister not the latter who has regrets--that she has kept her money but has done no living. The autobiographical essays address issues of her childhood and of the present, from her splendid summers as a girl on Martha's Vineyard (in "Fond Memories of a Black Childhood" ) to a recent frightening flight from Boston to the Vineyard (in "The Flight" ).
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385471459
  • Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/1/1995
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction
The Typewriter 9
The Five-Dollar Bill 19
Jack in the Pot 27
Mammy 43
The Richer, The Poorer 53
Funeral 59
The Penny 77
The Bird Like No Other 83
The Happiest Year, The Saddest Year 87
The Envelope 95
Fluff and Mr. Ripley 103
Odyssey of an Egg 109
About a Woman Named Nancy 117
The Roomer 127
The Maple Tree 131
An Unimportant Man 137
To Market, To Market 161
Rachel 167
Fond Memories of a Black Childhood 171
The Gift 177
The Purse 181
The Sun Parlor 195
Remembrance 201
An Adventure in Moscow 205
The Cart 211
Elephant's Dance 215
A Day Lost is a Day Gone Forever 229
The Legend of Oak Bluffs 235
Love 243
The Flight 247
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