No Crystal Stair
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (September 2010)|
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2009)|
No Crystal Stair was one of the selected novels in the 2005 edition of Canada Reads, where it was championed by Olympic fencer Sherraine MacKay. The title is a reference to the line "Life for me ain't been no crystal stair" Langston Hughes's poem "Mother to Son."
Widow Marion Willow works at two jobs to raise her three daughters properly. Fighting racism and sexism, Marion schools her girls in manners, English poetry and the need for an education; her elegant neighbour and rival (both women are in love with railway porter Edmund Thompson) teaches the children the ways of the street and their black cultural heritage.
Two themes in the novel run through No Crystal Stair: passing as white and surviving as black. Sarsfield recounts a story about the desire to survive, all the while depicting the cosmopolitan Montreal of the 1940s, a city inhabited by jazz musicians, socialites, artists and gangsters.
- No Crystal Stair by Eva Rutland MIRA Publishing, 2000
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