Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1953. 1st Edition. Octavo, publisher's yellow cloth, spine and upper board stamped in charcoal, original illustrated dust jacket.
First edition of Ann Petry’s third novel. Her longest and most ambitious work, the story takes place in the Narrows, a fictional Black neighborhood outside of Monmouth, Connecticut. Narrated from multiple perspectives, the central plot involves a love affair between a Dartmouth-educated Black bartender and a wealthy white woman. Although Petry had always aspired to be a successful writer, she described her experience with literary celebrity as "soul theft": "My soul was no longer my own...I was a black woman at a point in time when being a writer was not usual, and I was besieged. Everyone wanted a part of me." She returned to her hometown in Connecticut from Harlem, where she remained in relative obscurity until her death in 1997. Dust jacket designed by William Barss. Early owner inscription in black pencil to upper pastedown. Minor rubbing to spine-ends, small dent to top edge of each board; unclipped dust jacket with light edgewear and some toning to spine. Very good or better. Item #7981