WINNER OF THE 2019 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR NONFICTION
A brilliant, haunting and unforgettable memoir from a stunning new talent about the inexorable pull of home and family, set in a shotgun house in New Orleans East.
In 1961, Sarah M. Broomâ€™s mother Ivory Mae bought a shotgun house in the then-promising neighborhood of New Orleans East and built her world inside of it. It was the height of the Space Race and the neighborhood was home to a major NASA plantâ€”the postwar optimism seemed assured. Widowed, Ivory Mae remarried Sarahâ€™s father Simon Broom; their combined family would eventually number twelve children. But after Simon died, six months after Sarahâ€™s birth, the Yellow House would become Ivory Maeâ€™s thirteenth and most unruly child.
A book of great ambition, Sarah M. Broomâ€™sÂ The Yellow HouseÂ tells a hundred years of her family and their relationship to home in a neglected area of one of Americaâ€™s most mythologized cities. This is the story of a motherâ€™s struggle against a house’s entropy, and that of a prodigal daughter who left home only to reckon with the pull that home exerts, even after the Yellow House was wiped off the map after Hurricane Katrina.Â The Yellow HouseÂ expands the map of New Orleans to include the stories of its lesser known natives, guided deftly by one of its native daughters, to demonstrate how enduring drives of clan, pride, and familial love resist and defy erasure. Located in the gap between the â€śBig Easyâ€ť of tourist guides and the New Orleans in which Broom was raised,Â The Yellow HouseÂ is a brilliant memoir of place, class, race, the seeping rot of inequality, and the internalized shame that often follows. It is a transformative, deeply moving story from an unparalleled new voice of startling clarity, authority, and power.