The Tumbling Turner Sisters

by Juliette Fay

About the Book

In 1919, the Turner sisters and their parents are barely scraping by. Their father is a low-paid boot-stitcher in Johnson City, New York, and the family is always one paycheck away from eviction. When their father’s hand is crushed and he can no longer work, their irrepressible mother decides that the vaudeville stage is their best—and only—chance for survival. Set against the turbulent backdrop of American Vaudeville, four sisters embark on an unexpected adventure—and soon find freedom amid performers who are as diverse as their acts. From the past-their-prime Jewish comedians to the conniving French singer to the black tap dancer who inspires a love the world won’t allow, each has something invaluable to impart about vaudeville—and life. The business has a seamy side, however, and as the girls face startling twists of fate, the new lives they’ve fought so hard for hang in the balance.

About the Author

Juliette Fay was born in Binghamton, NY, the first of three daughters. She received a bachelor’s degree from Boston College and upon graduation, she began working in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Seattle, WA where she served as an emergency shelter worker and was very quickly exposed to the bleak realities of homelessness. Juliette earned her master’s degree in public policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Her first novel, Shelter Me, was designated as one of the ten best works of fiction in 2009 by the Massachusetts Center for the Book. Her second novel, Deep Down True, was short-listed for the Women’s Fiction Award of the American Library Association. The Shortest Way Home, her third novel, was chosen as one of Library Journal‘s Top 5 Best Books of 2012: Women’s Fiction and was published in 2015.

Related Events

Run Away to the Circus with Cirque Amongus

Tuesday, June 27, 2017, 6:00 pm
Main Library – 111 Library St NE

Have you ever wanted to run away to the circus and learn all of the renown acts? Now is your chance! In this adults-only workshop, professional entertainers from Cirque Amongus will teach you the fundamentals of circus arts—juggling, movement and balancing. Try your hand at juggling balls, rings and clubs. Attempt to ride the unicycle and walk on stilts. Perform on the static trapeze. Learn rolling globe walking, spinning plates, diabolos, and a whole lot more! Come dressed to move!

Bangarang Circus

Tuesday, July 18, 2017, 7:00 pm
Main Library – 111 Library St NE

Located in Grand Rapids, Bangarang Circus is a collective of performance artists who share a passion for all things circus. They will transform the library into a circus arena and perform aerial acts, contortion and tumbling, acrobatics and flow arts, and much more. Come be amazed and astounded!

The History of American Vaudeville

Monday, August 14, 2017, 7:00 pm
Main Library – 111 Library Street NE

From the opening for Tony Pastor’s Fourteenth Street Theatre in 1881 until the Palace Theatre in New York was wired for “Talking Pictures” in 1930, vaudeville was the most popular and influential form of entertainment in the United States. Taking its lead from fledgling corporate America, the titans of vaudeville management sought to use marketing, packaging and quality control to reach millions of Americans in thousands of theatres throughout the US. How did vaudeville develop? What was life like for vaudeville performers? What made vaudeville such a success? Vaudeville expert Timothy Connors will explore the history of vaudeville.