The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride

The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride Book Summary



“A murder mystery locked inside a Great American Novel . . . Charming, smart, heart-blistering, and heart-healing.” —Danez Smith, The New York Times Book Review

“We all need—we all deserve—this vibrant, love-affirming novel that bounds over any difference that claims to separate us.” —Ron Charles, The Washington Post

From James McBride, author of the bestselling Oprah’s Book Club pick Deacon King Kong and the National Book Award–winning The Good Lord Bird, a novel about small-town secrets and the people who keep them

In 1972, when workers in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, were digging the foundations for a new development, the last thing they expected to find was a skeleton at the bottom of a well. Who the skeleton was and how it got there were two of the long-held secrets kept by the residents of Chicken Hill, the dilapidated neighborhood where immigrant Jews and African Americans lived side by side and shared ambitions and sorrows. Chicken Hill was where Moshe and Chona Ludlow lived when Moshe integrated his theater and where Chona ran the Heaven & Earth Grocery Store. When the state came looking for a deaf boy to institutionalize him, it was Chona and Nate Timblin, the Black janitor at Moshe’s theater and the unofficial leader of the Black community on Chicken Hill, who worked together to keep the boy safe.

    As these characters’ stories overlap and deepen, it becomes clear how much the people who live on the margins of white, Christian America struggle and what they must do to survive. When the truth is finally revealed about what happened on Chicken Hill and the part the town’s white establishment played in it, McBride shows us that even in dark times, it is love and community—heaven and earth—that sustain us.

    Bringing his masterly storytelling skills and his deep faith in humanity to The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store, James McBride has written a novel as compassionate as Deacon King Kong and as inventive as The Good Lord Bird.

The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store Book Details

Book Name The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store
Genre Historical
Author James McBride
Published 08 August 2023, Tuesday
Price $14.99
E-Book Size 2.11 MB

The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride Book Reviews

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Left Out (objectivity)

A good read.. I thought this was a good book and enjoyed reading it. I would recommend it but it is not a great book, compared with some others that I have read recently. The author's style varies from compelling reading to overly wordy passages. The characters are quite diverse and interesting but I felt like there were sometimes too many characters to keep track of or differentiate. The social commentary regarding religion, race, nationality and class is interesting and presented in a compelling, but not in your face, manner. Overall, a good read.


Brilliant, cinematic,. I don’t understand how this doesn’t have 5 full stars. Rarely does a book with so many characters, each deeply integral to the overall story, manage to make me feel like I really understand and know each character. In Heaven & Earth Grocery Store, McBride writes each character with so much clarity and life, that the outcome of their stories became not just something that I was interested in, but something I NEEDED to know. He builds plot with patience and mastery, nails the essence of this country of contradictions, and there were passages so poignant I had to write them down. Read it!


Wonderful and inspiring book. The Heaven and Earth Grocery takes the reader back to a time long past, a time of small towns, of a burgeoning society of immigrants after the Depression. The characters are funny, lovable and yet as complex as their lives. The book reads smoothly, so much so I couldn’t quite believe I had come to the last page.

Never thought I'd be a gamer

Humanity. Gorgeous. Sweet. Lonely. I loved it!

Zulu dar

Rich in its cultural landscape. I really enjoyed this book. It’s richness telling the history of early Jewish immigrants and African Americans living in a small town is engrossing. A wonderful read.

Dotted eighth note

Heaven & Earth Grocery Store. This is a novel rich in different cultures, but ultimately filled with humanity. A moving and gritty look at this country then, and sadly now. Bravo,

Jam's I-phone

Absolutely beautiful. I throughly enjoyed it!


A 10 star rating. Movingly beautiful, full of impossible pain and stunning connections between the characters. I will not forget these complicated, very human, and soulfully good characters. I would have given this book 10 stars if I could have.

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James McBride - The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store Comments

5 Books like The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store (James McBride)

About Author "James McBride"

James McBride (born September 11, 1957) is an American writer and musician. He is the recipient of the 2013 National Book Award for fiction for his novel The Good Lord Bird. Early life McBride's father, Rev. Andrew D. McBride (August 8, 1911 – April 5, 1957) was African-American; he died of cancer at the age of 45. His mother, Ruchel Dwajra Zylska (name changed to Rachel Deborah Shilsky, and later to Ruth McBride Jordan; April 1, 1921 – January 9, 2010), was a Jewish immigrant from Poland. James was raised in Brooklyn's Red Hook housing projects until he was seven years old and was the last child Ruth had from her first marriage, the last child of Rev. Andrew McBride, and the eighth of 12 children. McBride states: I'm proud of my Jewish history....Technically I guess you could say I'm Jewish since my mother was Jewish...but she converted (to Christianity). So the question is for theologians to answer. ... I just get up in the morning happy to be living." His memoir, The Color of ....

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