Nowhere Is a Place
The long-awaited reissue of McFadden’s classic novel about a young woman on a journey of self-discovery.
What people are saying…
“An engrossing multigenerational saga . . . With her deep engagement in the material and her brisk but lyrical prose, McFadden creates a poignant epic of resiliency, bringing Sherry to a well-earned awareness of her place atop the shoulders of her ancestors, those who survived so that she might one day, too.”
“Telling her story from two perspectives and on two levels—the mother-daughter relationship and Sherry’s fictional account—McFadden brings added texture to this story of reconciliation.”
“Bernice L. McFadden’s Nowhere Is a Place is a hauntingly-disturbing and redemptive frame story of many generations of a Yamasee Native-American and African-American family from pre-slavery times until July 1995.”
—Bowling Green Daily News
“A poignant tale of self-discovery in the face of a complicated family history.”
—Brooklyn Daily Eagle
“Nowhere is a Place is a powerful portrait of family secrets, damage, and healing, probing deep below the surface of an African American family’s history to mend present day relationships . . . Ms. McFadden has a beautiful writing style that is simultaneously lyrical and transparent. In parts of the narrative, time seems to stand still as she describes an event in riveting minute to minute detail. Other times she employs a kind of poetic shorthand that condenses long periods of time, years even, into a few sentences.”
—New York Journal of Books
“With a good dose of poignancy about life and finding the wisdom of the world for ourselves, Nowhere is a Place is a fine addition to modern literary fiction collections.”
—The Midwest Book Review
“Compelling, beautifully written, and profoundly human, McFadden has conjured a tale of a fractured family who journey across the country and back through history to unearth painful truths that unexpectedly reshape their relationships with each other.”
—Lynn Nottage, playwright, author of Intimate Apparel
Praise for Gathering of Waters by Bernice L. McFadden:
“McFadden works a kind of miracle—not only do [her characters] retain their appealing humanity; their story eclipses the bonds of history to offer continuous surprises . . . Beautiful and evocative, Gathering of Waters brings three generations to life . . . The real power of the narrative lies in the richness and complexity of the characters. While they inhabit these pages they live, and they do so gloriously and messily and magically, so that we are at last sorry to see them go, and we sit with those small moments we had with them and worry over them, enchanted, until they become something like our own memories, dimmed by time, but alive with the ghosts of the past, and burning with spirits.”
—Jesmyn Ward, New York Times Book Review (Editors’ Choice)
“Read it aloud. Hire a chorus to chant it to you and anyone else interested in hearing about civil rights and uncivil desires, about the dark heat of hate, about the force of forgiveness.”
—Alan Cheuse, All Things Considered, NPR
“The rich text is shaped by the African-American storytelling tradition and layered with significant American histories. Recalling the woven spirituality of Toni Morrison’s Beloved, this work will appeal to readers of mystic literature.”
Read Bernice L. McFadden’s contribution to “My Caribbean – 5 Vignettes,” which appeared in the November 10, 2013 issue of the New York Times.
Nothing can mend a broken heart quite like family. Sherry has struggled all her life to understand who she is, where she comes from, and, most important, why her mother slapped her cheek one summer afternoon. The incident has haunted Sherry, and it causes her to dig into her family’s past. Like many family histories, it is fractured and stubbornly reluctant to reveal its secrets; but Sherry is determined to know the full story. In just a few days time, her extended family will gather for a reunion, and Sherry sets off across the country with her mother, Dumpling, to join them. What Sherry and Dumpling find on their trip is far more important than scenic sites here and there—it is the assorted pieces of their family’s past. Pulled together, they reveal a history of amazing survival and abundant joy.