The Paris Review

Staff Picks: Battle Hymns, Boarding Schools, and Bach

Sarah M. Broom. Photo: Adam Shemper.

Over the holiday weekend, I devoured , Sarah M. Broom’s remarkable and deeply researched memoir about her family’s New Orleans home. The youngest of twelve siblings, Broom grew up in a lively—and at times chaotic—shotgun-style house in the neighborhood of New Orleans East. Bringing together oral history, archival research, and first-person narrative, Broom weaves a multigenerational story of place that celebrates and complicates one of our nation’s most mythologized cities. “The Yellow House was witness to our lives,” writes Broom. And indeed, the house itself is essentially the protagonist of the story, a living organism animated by the decades of life that course through it like a pulse. Broom is

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