Diane McKinney-Whetstone's lyrical first novel, Tumbling, vividly captures a tightly knit
African-American neighborhood in South Philadelphia during the forties and fifties. Its central
characters, Herbie and Noon, are a loving but unconventional couple whose marriage remains
unconsummated for many years as Noon struggles to repossess her sexuality after a brutal
attack in her past. While she seeks salvation in the church, Herbie gains sexual gratification
in the arms of a bewitching jazz singer named Ethel, a woman who profoundly affects both
Noon's and Herbie's lives when she leaves with them, first, a baby girl and then later, a
five-year-old named Liz.
When a road planned by the city council threatens to break up this South Philadelphia
neighborhood, the community must band together. Unexpectedly, Noon rises up and takes
the lead in the opposition, fighting for all she's worth to keep her family and community together.
Tumbling is a beautiftilly rendered, poignant story about the ties that bind us and the secrets
that keep us apart. With striking lyricism, Diane McKinney-Whetstone keenly guides us through
the world of community, family, and the human heart.