Susan Messer

‘Grand River and Joy’ author Susan Messer reflects on Detroit

by Shaun Manning March 28, 2013

Susan Messer, author of the novel Grand River and Joy, recently reviewed two new books on the history of Detroit for TriQuarterly, taking the opportunity to consider how the Motor City became what it is today and the lessons we might take from its fate. “Like the chronically ill, Detroiters don’t want to be forgotten or ignored. But they don’t want pity either, and they’ve grown weary of the world’s fascination with what they call ‘ruin porn,’” Messer writes in her review essay on Detroit: A Biography by Scott Martelle and The Making of Black Detroit in the Age of Henry Ford by Beth […]

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New UM honors students to read Susan Messer’s ‘Grand River and Joy’ this summer

by Heather Newman May 20, 2010

The University of Michigan’s Honors Program in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts has selected Grand River and Joy as its required reading book for the summer for incoming Honors students. The book, set in the summer of the 1967 Detroit race riots, depicts the struggles of downtown shopkeeper Harry Levine as he attempts to decide whether to stay or flee for the suburbs. It is Susan Messer’s first, and critically acclaimed, novel. Roughly 500 new Honors students will read the book over the summer and discuss it on their first day on campus. “Many of our students […]

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Two critically acclaimed novelists speak at March 19 UMP Author Series event

by Heather Newman March 9, 2010

Debra Spark set her novel in Madison, Wis. Susan Messer placed hers in downtown Detroit the summer of the 1967 riots. Both make you feel as if you actually stepped into those cities. And both will be in Ann Arbor on Friday, March 19, from 5-6:30 p.m., as a joint presentation from the University of Michigan Press Author Series and the UM Library Spotlight Series to read from their books and discuss their methods. A book sale/signing and Q&A will follow. Spark’s book, Good for the Jews, is a funny, sharp story about a Jewish family facing everything from love […]

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“When I was a young girl” by Susan Messer

by University of Michigan Press July 1, 2009

When I was a young girl, growing up in 1960s Detroit, someone told me, possibly a teacher, that Jews and blacks were minority groups. I remember walking home, turning this idea over in my mind, and thinking that the person who had concocted it must be terribly misinformed, because when I looked around my world, the only people I saw were blacks and Jews. When I told this to a neighbor recently, she said, “You mean there weren’t any  . . . just plain white . . . ?” “No,” I said. “Oh, maybe a few.” Grand River and Joy […]

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