The House Uptown: A Novel (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

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.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781250784209
ISBN-10: 1250784204
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: December 14th, 2021
Pages: 256
Language: English