Books

Praise for This Side of Providence

This Side of Providence

“Luminous, heartbreaking, and profoundly redemptive, This Side of Providence is a hauntingly beautiful novel about the unbreakable bonds between a wounded mother and the children she tries to love. In original, poetic, and surprisingly operatic prose, Harper brings her distinct blend of clarity and compassion to these wonderful pages, echoing the structural ingenuity of William Faulkner and the passionate intelligence of James Baldwin. A must read.”
Rebecca Walker, author of Adé, A Love Story

This Side of Providence is so beautifully written and incredibly compelling that I found myself not wanting to do anything but sit inside this world until everyone turned out all right. Rachel Harper is a stunning writer.”
Jacqueline Woodson, National Book Award-winning author of Brown Girl Dreaming and Miracle’s Boys

“A truly remarkable novel. Rachel Harper writes with jagged grace and unflinching courage—a willingness to confront fear and pain through characters beautifully alive with feeling, truth, and compassion.”
Scott O’Connor, author of Half World and Untouchable

This Side of Providence is sung by many voices, some achingly youthful, some wise, some wizened, who sing of desperation, who sing for compassion, who sing from the margins the long song of family. Harper’s great achievement is that of choirmaster, keeping the arrangement of voices honest and clear, and somehow pitched toward love.”
Justin Torres, author of We the Animals

“Survival, forgiveness, belonging, addiction: Rachel Harper guides readers along the knife-edge lives of her characters with silken pacing and muscular prose. With deep empathy and intellect, Harper paints a universal story of honest, imperfect love and hard-won family. This gorgeous book balances the gritty with the good-hearted, reminding us that only what is dark and difficult can give rise to redemption.”
Neela Vaswani, author of You Have Given Me a Country

“Here is a novel that can save lives. Harper holds no bars about the dangers of addiction and poverty, yet offers hope for the near-miraculous ability of courageous young people, guided by dedicated teachers, to survive and flourish as unique and valuable individuals. Readers will root not only for struggling children, but also feel compassion for the flawed adults whose lives are spinning out of control. With unflinching honesty and unlimited love, Harper’s This Side of Providence tells it like it is in many of our cities, and how it can be better. I’ll never forget these characters or this novel.”
Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Ahab’s Wife

“Rachel Harper is a channeler of voices, an inhabiter of bodies, an invoker of spirits. In this exquisitely braided narrative, Harper trusts her characters to tell their own stories, and grants each of them their own broken poetry. A stunning achievement—I did not want this novel to end, but when it did, I felt a rush of cathartic joy.”
K. L. Cook, author of The Girl from Charnelle and Love Songs for the Quarantined

This Side of Providence is an ambitious, beautifully written, heartfelt novel that demonstrates the centrality of family under the most arduous of conditions.”
Jervey Tervalon, author of Understand This and Monster’s Chef


Brass Ankle Blues

Brass Ankle Blues

“Brass Ankle Blues is a beautiful debut… full of humanity and elusive shocks of recognition. It gracefully explores the fissures and possibilities that all young selves experience. This is a marvelous novel.”
Providence Journal

“Rachel Harper’s fierce debut is a tender, passionate, and moving read. A clear window onto a world rarely seen in contemporary fiction.”
Shay Youngblood, author of Soul Kiss

“I am very impressed by this first novel… Simple, clean and direct—my credo for good writing… She has an excellent eye for the most minute details… I hope many people will get a chance to read this book…”
Ernest J. Gaines, author of The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and A Lesson Before Dying

“I enjoyed reading this remarkable first novel. A contemporary novel in the great traditions… American landscape, American character, American heroine… intelligent, eloquent, lyrical… all the elements of fine writing.”
Gayl Jones, author of Corregidora and The Healing

“With a deftness of touch that can arise only from hard-won wisdom, Brass Ankle Blues transfigures the journey from innocence to experience in pure lyric tenderness. This is an extraordinary novel.”
Ronald A. Sharp, Dean of the Faculty, Vassar College; Former Editor, The Kenyon Review

“Rachel M. Harper’s fine novel… is told with a discerning eye for detail and wry humor.”
Curtis Harnack, author of We Have All Gone Away and Love and Be Silent