The Keepers of the House
Shirley Ann Grau
This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.
A “beautifully written” Pulitzer Prize–winning novel about prejudice and a distinguished family’s secrets in the American South (The Atlantic Monthly).
Seven generations of the Howland family have lived in the Alabama plantation home built by an ancestor who fought for Andrew Jackson in the War of 1812. Over the course of a century, the Howlands accumulated a fortune, fought for secession, and helped rebuild the South, establishing themselves as one of the most respected families in the state. But that history means little to Abigail Howland.
The inheritor of the Howland manse, Abigail hides the long-buried secret of her grandfather’s thirty-year relationship with his African American mistress. Her fortunes reverse when her family’s mixed-race heritage comes to light and her community—locked in the prejudices of the 1960s—turns its back on her. Faced with such deep-seated racism, Abigail is pushed to defend her family at all costs.
A “novel of real magnitude,” The Keepers of the House is an unforgettable story of family, tradition, and racial injustice set against the richly drawn backdrop of the American South (Kirkus Reviews).
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Shirley Ann Grau, including rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the author’s personal collection.
“Long after its plot and even its characters are forgotten, the brooding atmosphere of Shirley Ann Grau's beautifully written novel will linger in her readers’ minds.” —The New York Times
“Shirley Ann Grau is one of those rare writers who create a world, draw the reader into it, and make him somehow happy there no matter what goes on. . . . Such is her beguilement that one comes to the novel’s end with a sense of loss and leaves that world with reluctance.” —Newsweek
“Her best novel.” —Saturday Review
“[The Keepers of the House] sweeps one with relentless speed . . . A fine performance.” —Harper’s
“This is a novel of real magnitude and it confirms an astonishingly gifted writer with a power to stun and shatter.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Each year, I reread three authors—Toni Morrison, Leslie Marmon Silko, and Shirley Ann Grau. No one else writes about the landscape of Louisiana as she does, but also about the landscape of bitter love and family dreams, of sex not as romance but as commerce and experiment and mystery, of people adrift in their lives and people so tethered to their own pieces of earth. Keepers of the House is a masterpiece of history and race and the fragile yet tenuous ownership of land and love.” —Susan Straight, author of the National Book Award Finalist Highwire Moon
Shirley Ann Grau (b. 1929) is a Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist of nine novels and short story collections, whose work is set primarily in her native South. Grau was raised in Alabama and Louisiana, and many of her novels document the broad social changes of the Deep South during the twentieth century, particularly as they affected African Americans. Grau’s first novel, The Hard Blue Sky (1958), about the descendants of European pioneers living on an island off the coast of Louisiana, established her as a master of vivid description, both for characters and locale, a style she maintained throughout her career. Her public profile rose during the civil rights movement, when her dynastic novel Keepers of the House (1964), which dealt with race relations in Alabama, earned her a Pulitzer Prize.