The House on Childress Street: A Memoir

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Harlem Moon/Broadway Books, 2005 - Biography & Autobiography - 228 pages
In this vivid and piercing memoir of his grandfather, noted novelist Kenji Jasper captures the story of his family and sheds a keen light on the urban and rural experiences of Black America.

Author Kenji Jasper only knew his maternal grandfather, Jesse Langley Sr., as a quiet man who smoked too many cigarettes, drank too much liquor and quoted the Bible like it was the only book he’d ever laid eyes on.

Jesse’s children rarely hugged him, and his nearly sixty years of marriage to Sally seemed cold and complicated. But when the man who declared himself “The Lone Ranger” passed away in late 2002, Kenji began a long and life-changing journey to learn more about the grandfather he barely knew. From the streets of his native Washington, D.C., to rural Virginia, North Carolina, and his home in Brooklyn, Jasper’s journey to find the truth leads him through three generations of stories, through tales of love and loss, loyalty and betrayal, addiction and redemption.

The House on Childress Street examines life, love, and survival through the eyes of one little family on one little block that somehow manages to speak for us all.

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Novelist Jasper explores the roots and psyche of an African-American family.As he approached his 30th year, the author (Seeking Salamanca Mitchell, 2004, etc.) had his view of fatherhood irrevocably ... Read full review

The house on Childress Street: a memoir

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In this narrative about family, grief, and love, novelist/NPR commentator Jasper (Dark ) sheds light on the African American experience through oral histories as he explores his grandfather's life as ... Read full review


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About the author (2005)

KENJI JASPER is the author of the novels Dark, Dakota Grand, and Seeking Salamanca Mitchell, and has served as a commentator for NPR. His writings have appeared in Essence, The Source, XXL, Vibe, and many other publications. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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