‘The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store’ weaves a tale of love and community

James McBride, one of today’s great American novelists, cares about his characters.

In a recent episode of “The New Yorker Radio Hour” podcast, the award-winning author professed that he’s not someone who “creates characters, and runs them up a tree, and throws cans at them.” It’s a spot-on assessment. Eschewing cheap shots, McBride favors a careful, winding excavation – reaching into history for the whys and wherefores of his novels’ crowded casts, while delivering whopper stories with electric finales.

And he’s done it again.

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