A young girl and the grandmother in New Orleans that she does not know are forced together by tragedy and soon learn they not only have to learn about each other but that the trauma memories of the past can lead to dire consequences for both of them. No matter what course the characters take, the continuum of events that began decades earlier will inevitably dictate the direction of their lives.
Melissa Ginsburg has a poet's ability to be both concise in her language yet still create a layered and beautiful portrait of her characters and their travails. It is a book that reaches into the depths of the past's hold while mesmerizing the reader right up to its stunning conclusion.— Bill
Melissa Ginsburg's The House Uptown is an emotional coming-of-age novel about a young girl who goes to live with her eccentric grandmother in New Orleans after the death of her mother
Ava, fourteen years old and totally on her own, has still not fully processed her mother’s death when she finds herself on a train heading to New Orleans, to stay with Lane, the grandmother she barely remembers.
Lane is a well-known artist in the New Orleans art scene. She spends most of her days in a pot-smoke haze, sipping iced coffee, and painting, which has been her singular focus for years. Her grip on reality is shaky at best, but her work provides a comfort.
Ava’s arrival unsettles Lane. The girl bears an uncanny resemblance to her daughter, whom she was estranged from before her death. Now her presence is dredging up painful and disturbing memories, which forces Lane to retreat even further into her own mind. As Ava and Lane attempt to find their way and form a bond, the oppressive heat and history of New Orleans bears down on them, forcing a reckoning neither of them are ready for.
About the Author
Melissa Ginsburg was born and raised in Houston, Texas, and attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She is the author of the novel, Sunset City, and the poetry collection Dear Weather Ghost. She teaches creative writing and literature at the University of Mississippi in Oxford.
"A magnetic, deftly-crafted tale about the ties that bind family and found-family across generations. Ginsburg is a master of depicting the heartbreaking inner lives of people aching for connection in a world spinning apart." - Maurice Ruffin, author of We Cast a Shadow
"Ginsburg's brilliance is on full display in The House Uptown. By giving us these layered, complicated characters, all suffering from previous traumas, Ginsburg reveals how the past keeps reaching toward us, and what we'll do to stay out of its reach. It's a book that breaks you down, even though you can't put it down." - Kevin Wilson, NYT bestselling author of Nothing to See Here
"Melissa Ginsburg's page-turner is a devastatingly simple trap: characters so beguiling you settle in for a charming coming-of-age fable before realizing the spring is snapping shut on an inexorable and satisfying calamity. The theme is the-past-isn't-dead-it-isn't-even-past, but painted not with Faulkner's heavy hand so much as with the crisp ingenuity of Ross Macdonald." - Jonathan Lethem, bestselling author of The Feral Detective