ISBN-10: 0802138314
ISBN-13: 9780802138316
Publisher: Grove Press
Publish Date: 08/27/2001
Dimensions: 8.28" L, 5.49" W, 0.85" H



Price: $13.00


Thulani Davis’s 1959 is a powerful, poignant coming-of-age novel that captures a dramatic moment in American history as clearly as a photograph. It’s the summer of 1959 and Willie Tarrant of Turner, Virginia, is twelve. Her father and other adults in the town are worried about integration — how it will affect their children’s safety and the quality of their education — but for Willie it’s just another problem she’s going to have to deal with, like her chores and beginning to go out with boys. Willie and her friends — kids from good families with good grades — are being groomed to be sent in the first wave. Before this can happen, though, eight black college students, wearing suits and fresh haircuts, go into the Woolworth’s lunch counter — changing everything. In 1959 one of the most talented writers of her generation has written a book that will become a classic of civil rights literature.

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Praise for 1959

"Willie Tarrant recalls both Scout in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird and Nel in Toni Morrison's Sula... A captivating heroine...1959 is not merely the story of one girl's loss of innocence.... Ms. Davis... [shows] the consequences of integration on a single family and community with insight, sympathy, and grace." –Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

"Davis's novel captures the dizzying excitement of the civil rights era with subtle exactitude... [A] perfectly measured mixture of innocence and suffering, knowingness and triumph... [and] an absolute joy, so much so that one can almost forget the pain that gave birth to it." –Geoffrey Stokes, The Boston Globe

"Like the Bottom in Toni Morrison's Sula or Willow Springs in Gloria Naylor's Mama Day, the town of Turner, Virginia, is as important a character as any in 1959... [An] historical fiction that is as important and enduring as the events it describes." –Suzanne Samuel, San Francisco Examiner

"1959 evokes the cool echoing voice of a storytelle... Davis's novel has an uncanny capacity to enthrall the reader." –Carolivia Herron, Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Powerful and unassuming, piercing and poignant... Evoking elements of Go Tell It on the Mountain, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Coming of Age in Mississippi, Ms. Davis paints a vivid portrait of small-town life... [A] rich, refreshing novel that is itself a quiet storm." –Valerie Boyd, The Atlanta Journal/Constitution

"Extremely thoughtful and extremely fine... The fight for integration becomes a community claim for identity, and galvanizes the close-knit black circle of friends into intense life... Davis... remind[s] us of history that we can't afford to discard-unless we want that tide to turn again." –Carolyn See, New York Newsday

"A marvelously rich and fluid novel." –Ishmael Reed

"Accomplished and captivating... Willie's intelligence and youthful naïveté inform the stations of America's past with humor and humanity. Her voice-frank, amusing and passionate by turns-insists on being heard. A powerful, impressive debut." Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"What was it that got the civil rights movement going back in the 1960s? The journalist and poet Thulani Davis seeks to track the source of that fire in her deeply felt first novel... A raw and moving testament to the power that rests within a community." –Beth Levine, New York Times Book Review

"[A] vivid and rewarding novel... a rich mix of characters, of differences within an African-American community, a subtle sense of how people change and move and grow, join a central voice that is poignant, flip, engaging, provocative, and utterly unsentimental." –Adrienne Rich

"In 1959 [Thulani Davis] has combined a coming-of-age story with an evocative portrait of a segregated community on the cusp of the "60s... A microhistory of the civil rights movement, and even a grimly prophetic emblem of the entire African-American experience." –David Gates, Newsweek

"Davis celebrates everyday heroes whose defeats and triumphs she describes with hypnotic dexterity." Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"To get into the upbeat spirit of this atmospheric story... one need only listen to the tender and humorous voice of narrator Willie Tarrant." –Laura Mathews, Glamour

"Impressive... The ideal girlish narrator must be precocious enough to glimpse adult realities... Harper Lee and Maya Angelou were early practitioners of this particular magic art. Josephine Humphreys, Kaye Gibson, and Ellen Gilchrist-Southerners all-continue the proud tradition. Thulani Davis can step forward and join their ranks." –Joyce R. Slater, Chicago Tribune

"Deftly drawn... The author is gifted and the characters strong." –Melissa Fay Green, The Washington Post Book World

"Sad and engaging... By the end of this remarkably fluid first novel, it feels as if... the changes taking place in Turner, and in Willie, have happened not only on the page but in the world." –Jane Mendelsohn, The Village Voice

"Unforgettable... Davis writes about a world on the brink of change with humor, love, and great insight." –Jessica Hagedorn

"Davis is an artful observer and scene maker, creating and resolving tension while exploring moral issues, the nuances of anger and conviction, and the joy of right action." -Booklist

"Lyrical, self-assured... Davis's book spills over with lushness and generosity of spirit." –Margaria Fichtner, Miami Herald

"An excellent first novel... 1959 is an affirmation. It embodies the spirit which sparked that historic period and which will help sustain the future... Thulani Davis's historical imagination will help to keep us mindful, memory burning and hope alive." –Gloria T. Hull, The Women's Review of Books

"Compassionate... A moving portrait of a town inspired to activism." –Margot Mifflin, Entertainment Weekly

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ISBN-10: 0802138314
ISBN-13: 9780802138316
Publisher: Grove Press
Publish Date: 08/27/2001
Dimensions: 8.28" L, 5.49" W, 0.85" H
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