The Living Is Easy by Dorothy West


An insightful, witty novel set in early twentieth-century black Boston by the Harlem Renaissance’s youngest member.

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The first novel by Dorothy West—author of The Wedding—was one of only a handful to be published by black women during the 1940s. The Living Is Easy tells the story of Cleo Judson, daughter of Southern sharecroppers, determined to integrate into Boston’s black elite. Married to the “Black Banana King” Bart Judson, Cleo maneuvers her three sisters and their children—but not their husbands—into living with her, attempting to recreate her original family in a Bostonian mansion.

Written in elegant and piercing prose, The Living Is Easy is a classic of American literature by a groundbreaking African American woman writer whose work deserves widespread and enduring recognition.

Dorothy West (1907–1998) shared the coveted Opportunity short-story prize with Zora Neale Hurston in 1927 and later moved to New York, where she became the youngest of the writers associated with the Harlem Renaissance. West founded and edited the influential African American literary magazine the Challenge and New Challenge. Also the author of The Wedding and The Richer, The Poorer, she lived on Martha’s Vineyard until her death.

The Living Is Easy by Dorothy West
Epilogue BCB