RIP Gloria Naylor
October 3, 2016 6:05 PM   Subscribe

2016 just might be the suckiest year ever. RIP Gloria Naylor.
posted by correcaminos at 6:09 PM on October 3, 2016 [2 favorites]

posted by jonmc at 6:15 PM on October 3, 2016


posted by rtha at 6:30 PM on October 3, 2016

Augh. No.

posted by palmcorder_yajna at 6:39 PM on October 3, 2016

RIP. "Bailey's Cafe" was pretty great.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 6:54 PM on October 3, 2016

As great as The Women of Brewster Place was, Linden Hills may have been her masterpiece. It was a retelling of The Divine Comedy in an upper-class Black housing settlement in the Midwest. Some of the themes are prescient in light of BLM, and the book is beautifully written.

posted by pxe2000 at 6:59 PM on October 3, 2016 [5 favorites]

posted by Melismata at 7:15 PM on October 3, 2016

I read Linden Hills as a HS senior and it has stayed with me ever since.
posted by PussKillian at 9:06 PM on October 3, 2016

posted by avoision at 9:29 PM on October 3, 2016

Oh, Linden Hills has stuck with me for years. It's so terribly heartbreaking, even more so than the last two chapters of The Women of Brewster Place. I hope those books are taught in colleges for years.
posted by sobell at 10:00 PM on October 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Also: Mama Day. My house is not my home unless it contains a copy of Mama Day.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 10:18 PM on October 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

posted by batmonkey at 11:05 PM on October 3, 2016

posted by koucha at 5:01 AM on October 4, 2016

posted by smirkette at 5:38 AM on October 4, 2016

I read Mama Day in college and fell in love with it. I manage to work it into several classes and love seeing new groups of students fall in love with it every time.

posted by TwoStride at 6:16 AM on October 4, 2016

posted by slothhog at 8:09 AM on October 4, 2016

Damn. I read The Women of Brewster Place and Linden Hills thirty years ago and have never forgotten them. She should have had decades more.

posted by languagehat at 9:17 AM on October 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

posted by me3dia at 2:06 PM on October 4, 2016

I did not read The Women Of Brewster Place, but rather listened to it, thanks to the DC Pacifica radio station, WPFW, which had a daytime segment in the mid-eighties in which a book would be read aloud over the course of a few weeks. At the time, I spent my work days in a closed room with a giant diazo-process microfiche duplicator under bright yellow lights that protected the film from accidental exposure, and it was a job so dull that I'd doodled my entire inspection table into an astonishingly detailed work of outsider art.

The book, as it unfurled over days, just...opened in my head, and I could not stop listening. I danced wild pee-pee dances when I had to go, but couldn't bear to break the trance of the story, and I skipped the usual breaks to escape the fumes from aqueous ammonia that left my eyes burning to listen, and I based my work day around the readings...and then the story was finished, with the characters tearing down that wall.

Oh my.

In a single stroke, it broke my idea of what a novel is required to be, introducing the notion of the composite novel to me, and while I spent another few decades battering away at trying to write in the more traditional novel form, without success, the seed that Brewster Place planted was growing in the background, and one fine day, when I make it to print, it'll almost certainly be in a form that Gloria Naylor taught me with her vivid work.

Thank you, Ms. Naylor.
posted by sonascope at 8:19 AM on October 5, 2016

posted by BibiRose at 10:10 AM on October 5, 2016

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