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Extended Audio Sample The Street Audiobook, by Ann Petry Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (1,647 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ann Petry Narrator: Nicole Small Publisher: Buck 50 Productions Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2013 ISBN: 9781470880514
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As much a historical document as it is a novel, this 1946 winner of the Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship Award is the poignant and unblinkingly honest story of Lutie Johnson, a young black woman, and her spirited struggle to live and raise her son by herself amid the violence, poverty, and racial dissonance of Harlem in the late 1940s.

Originally published in 1946 and hailed by critics as a masterwork, The Street was Ann Petry’s first novel, a beloved bestseller with more than a million copies in print. Its haunting tale still resonates today.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A powerful, uncompromising work of social criticism. To this day, few works of fiction have so clearly illuminated the devastating impact of racial injustice.”

    Coretta Scott King, American author, activist, and civil rights leader

  • “A classic of American realism…The Street rushes toward its fatalistic climax like a train toward a washed-out bridge.”

    Newsday

  • “Overflows with the classic pity and terror of good imaginative writing.”

    New York Times

  • “A major literary invention…A truly great book.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Years ago Ann Petry brought the world to its feet with the artistry…in this painfully honest and wrenching novel. Once again a standing ovation is due for this American classic.”

    Gloria Naylor

  • Winner of the 1946 Houghton Mifflin Literary Award Fellowship Award

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Regina | 2/17/2014

    " Completely undervalued work. Petry is comparable to Virginia Wolfe in detail, and a master of emotion. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Angela | 2/14/2014

    " All I have to say is this - if at any time you feel the need to stop reading this book - keep reading! The end of the book was sooo sad, I just didn't see it turning out that way. That's all I'm saying... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matt | 2/2/2014

    " This book definitely has some problems--there's a sort of repetition of the same details over and over without giving them any new meaning that drove me crazy for a while--but it's also pretty devastating and made me cry, which is really the criterion by which I judge most books. And the social criticism as nearly as applicable today as it was when Petry wrote the book 60 years ago. Scary. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary Ellen | 2/1/2014

    " I really liked this book about a black woman with a son trying to make it on her own. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jamie | 1/24/2014

    " A vivid and quite depressing view into what it was like to live as a single African American mother in 1940s New York. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rosemari | 1/21/2014

    " The rawness of Richard Wright, the wisdom of Toni Morrison. First read in 1970s and never Ann Petry. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristin | 1/18/2014

    " A product that is really a reflective piece on the Harlem Renaissance coming in the 1950s. Really liked the female perspective on the race problem as well as underlying gender issues that came along with that. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Cheryl S. | 1/1/2014

    " I just couldn't stay with this one. I'm over half done and it's just so dark with so many grotesque characters it was way too depressing to finish. I probably wouldn't have read as much as I did, but didn't have anything else new in the house to read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Phoebe | 12/18/2013

    " Deeply moving, tragic portrayal of one woman's life in Harlem in the 1940s as she attempts to rise from poverty and oppression to make a better life for herself and her son. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jacq Francois | 12/9/2013

    " Seriously...one of the GREATEST books I have ever read. So tragic, and RELEVANT to all Blacks living in all great metropolis of America. I definitely will revisit this novel again in the future. Highly recommend to all! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rachel | 11/12/2013

    " This book really infiltrated my psyche while I was reading it. Very compelling. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 April Gustafson | 11/9/2013

    " Great book. Depressing along the lines of An American Tragedy. Put me in a bleak mood, but still a very worthwhile read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Veronica | 9/22/2013

    " This book's amazing! A black woman's struggle to survive racism and sexism in 1960's Harlem... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ruthie Jones | 8/14/2013

    " Haunting and heartbreaking because it all could have happened, has happened, and is happening...everywhere. Why must there be for so many people so much drudgery, pain, poverty, judgment, despair, hate, hopelessness, and the muted horror of confronting the deceptively simple act of existing? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Arnold | 7/26/2013

    " Read this book in college--harrowing, bleak, emotional. And amazing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dream 4 More Reviews | 7/25/2013

    " *LFPC read for April 2012. 3.75 stars "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karli | 7/3/2013

    " This story just overtook my emotions. I cannot think of anything critical to say about the structure or even the content, as I was just swept away by the plot and the characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katie | 6/6/2013

    " Really good, all about a single black woman trying to provide for her son in NY in the late 40s. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michelle Blackwell | 5/29/2013

    " The ending ruined the whole book. Moreover, I had a hard time connecting with the protagonist- Lutie Johnson. She was too prissy for my taste. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joyce | 5/22/2013

    " I'd be interested in what other people think of this. It is a 1946 tale of a single mother raising a son in Harlem. So of it is cumbersome, but some of the imagery is great. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Wendy | 4/29/2013

    " I loved this book; it felt raw and real. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ryan Mishap | 3/14/2013

    " Social Realist slice of life as a single mother tries to keep it all together. Excellent novel. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 eve | 2/11/2013

    " Equal parts horribly discouraging and irrepressibly wonderful. "

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About the Author
Author Ann Petry

Ann Petry (1908–1997) was an American author who became the first African American woman writer with book sales topping a million copies for her novel The Street, which earned her the Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship. 

About the Narrator

Nicole Small (a.k.a. Shayna Small) is an actress/singer born and raised in Chicago. In the middle of her freshman year of high school she relocated to Baltimore to attend a performing arts school. She holds a BFA in drama at the Juilliard School. Her theater credits include Hurt Village and The Threepenny Opera.