5 Books Published by Counterpoint on Our Site — Book Cover Mosaic

Click for more detail about Old In Art School: A Memoir of Starting Over by Nell Irvin Painter Old In Art School: A Memoir of Starting Over

by Nell Irvin Painter
Counterpoint (Jun 19, 2018)
Read Detailed Book Description


A Library Journal Editors’ Spring Pick: 1 of 34 Titles to Wave a Flag About

"Old in Art School is a glorious achievement?bighearted and critical, insightful and entertaining. This book is a cup of courage for everyone who wants to change their lives." ?Tayari Jones, author of An American Marriage and Silver Sparrow

Following her retirement from Princeton University, celebrated historian Dr. Nell Irvin Painter surprised everyone in her life by returning to school?in her sixties?to earn a BFA and MFA in painting. In Old in Art School, she travels from her beloved Newark to the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design; finds meaning in the artists she loves, even as she comes to understand how they may be undervalued; and struggles with the unstable balance between the pursuit of art and the inevitable, sometimes painful demands of a life fully lived.

How are women and artists seen and judged by their age, looks, and race? What does it mean when someone says, “You will never be an artist”? Who defines what “An Artist” is and all that goes with such an identity, and how are these ideas tied to our shared conceptions of beauty, value, and difference?

Old in Art School is Nell Painter’s ongoing exploration of those crucial questions. Bringing to bear incisive insights from two careers, Painter weaves a frank, funny, and often surprising tale of her move from academia to art.


Click for more detail about A Kind of Freedom: A Novel by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton A Kind of Freedom: A Novel

by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton
Counterpoint (Aug 15, 2017)
Read Detailed Book Description


A 2017 National Book Award Nominee
A New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice
Chosen as 1 of 12 books to read this August by the Chicago Review of Books
Chosen as 1 of 24 Incredible Books to Add to Your Shelf This Summer by the Huffington Post
Chosen as 1 of 10 Books to Read in August by BBC Culture

"This luminous and assured first novel shines an unflinching, compassionate light on three generations of a black family in New Orleans, emphasizing endurance more than damage." ?The New York Times Book Review, Editors’ Choice

Evelyn is a Creole woman who comes of age in New Orleans at the height of World War II. Her family inhabits the upper echelon of Black society, and when she falls for no-account Renard, she is forced to choose between her life of privilege and the man she loves.

In 1982, Evelyn’s daughter, Jackie, is a frazzled single mother grappling with her absent husband’s drug addiction. Just as she comes to terms with his abandoning the family, he returns, ready to resume their old life.

Jackie’s son, T.C., loves the creative process of growing marijuana more than the weed itself. He was a square before Hurricane Katrina, but the New Orleans he knew didn’t survive the storm. Fresh out of a four-month stint for drug charges, T.C. decides to start over?until an old friend convinces him to stake his new beginning on one last deal.

For Evelyn, Jim Crow is an ongoing reality, and in its wake new threats spring up to haunt her descendants. A Kind of Freedom is an urgent novel that explores the legacy of racial disparity in the South through a poignant and redemptive family history.


Click for more detail about Grace by Natashia Deon Grace

by Natashia Deon
Counterpoint (Apr 11, 2017)
Read Detailed Book Description


Named a New York Times 2016 Best Book of the Year by critic Jennifer Senior.

For a runaway slave in the 1840s south, life on the run can be just as dangerous as life under a sadistic Massa. That’s what fifteen-year-old Naomi learns after she escapes the brutal confines of life on an Alabama plantation and takes refuge in a Georgia brothel run by a gun-toting Jewish madam named Cynthia. Amidst a revolving door of gamblers and prostitutes, Naomi falls into a love affair with a smooth-talking white man named Jeremy.

The product of their union is Josey, whose white skin and blond hair mark her as different from the others on the plantation. Having been taken in as an infant by a free slave named Charles, Josey has never known her mother, who was murdered at her birth. Josey soon becomes caught in the tide of history when news of the Emancipation Proclamation reaches her and a day of supposed freedom turns into one of unfathomable violence that will define Josey?and her lost mother? for years to come.

Grace is a sweeping, intergenerational saga featuring a group of outcast women during one of the most compelling eras in American history. It is a universal story of freedom, love, and motherhood, told in a dazzling and original voice set against a rich and transporting historical backdrop.


Click for more detail about Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape by Lauret Savoy Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape

by Lauret Savoy
Counterpoint (Nov 10, 2015)
Read Detailed Book Description



Sand and stone are Earth’s fragmented memory. Each of us, too, is a landscape inscribed by memory and loss. One life-defining lesson Lauret Savoy learned as a young girl was this: the American land did not hate. As an educator and Earth historian, she has tracked the continent’s past from the relics of deep time; but the paths of ancestors toward her —paths of free and enslaved Africans, colonists from Europe, and peoples indigenous to this land —lie largely eroded and lost.

In this provocative and powerful mosaic of personal journeys and historical inquiry across a continent and time, Savoy explores how the country’s still unfolding history, and ideas of“race, have marked her and the land. From twisted terrain within the San Andreas Fault zone to a South Carolina plantation, from national parks to burial grounds, from“Indian Territory and the U.S.-Mexico Border to the U.S. capital, Trace grapples with a searing national history to reveal the often unvoiced presence of the past.

In distinctive and illuminating prose that is attentive to the rhythms of language and landscapes, she weaves together human stories of migration, silence, and displacement, as epic as the continent they survey, with uplifted mountains, braided streams, and eroded canyons.


Click for more detail about Elsewhere, California: A Novel (NONE) by Dana Johnson Elsewhere, California: A Novel (NONE)

by Dana Johnson
Counterpoint (Jun 12, 2012)
Read Detailed Book Description


We first met Avery in two of the stories featured in Dana Johnson’s award?winning collection Break Any Woman Down. As a young girl, she and her family escape the violent streets of Los Angeles to a more gentrified existence in suburban West Covina. This average life, filled with school, trips to 7?Eleven to gawk at Tiger Beat magazine, and family outings to Dodger Stadium, is soon interrupted by a past she cannot escape, personified in the guise of her violent cousin Keith.

When Keith moves in with her family, he triggers a series of events that will follow Avery throughout her life: to her studies at USC, to her burgeoning career as a painter and artist, and into her relationship with a wealthy Italian who sequesters her in his glass?walled house in the Hollywood Hills. The past will intrude upon Avery’s first gallery show, proving her mother’s adage: Every goodbye aint gone. The dual?narrative of Elsewhere, California illustrates the complicated history of African Americans across the rolling basin of Los Angeles.