Saturday, July 16, 2016
Tumbling by Diane McKinney-Whetstone
Tumbling is one of my book bargains that I bought through an Amazon vendor. I liked the cover for the hardback and wanted to have a copy for my bookshelf. It's a used copy, but in excellent condition. Right now it is lined up on my step tansu waiting for me to pick it up.
Diane McKinney-Whetstone's lyrical first novel, Tumbling, vividly captures a tightly knit African-American neighborhood in South Philadelphia during the forties and fifties. Its central characters, Herbie and Noon, are a loving but unconventional couple whose marriage remains unconsummated for many years as Noon struggles to repossess her sexuality after a brutal attack in her past. While she seeks salvation in the church, Herbie gains sexual gratification in the arms of a bewitching jazz singer named Ethel, a woman who profoundly affects both Noon's and Herbie's lives when she leaves with them, first, a baby girl and then later, a five-year-old named Liz.
When a road planned by the city council threatens to break up this South Philadelphia neighborhood, the community must band together. Unexpectedly, Noon rises up and takes the lead in the opposition, fighting for all she's worth to keep her family and community together.