The Turner House belongs to the Turner family, who raised 13 children in it in Detroit, back when Detroit had seen better days. Those better days are mostly gone, and the house is empty; Mr. Turner is gone, while Mrs. Turner is elderly and ill. The children, now adults (and some approaching Social Security age themselves) are struggling to decided what to do with the house, and with each other as a family.
That's the premise for this congenial debut novel by Angela Flournoy. She wisely chose not to detail every single Turner child--13 viewpoints would be way too much, especially since she also wants to spend time with the parental Turners. The book goes back and forth in time, and veers between a few, well-chosen characters to tell the story of how some of these Turners have succeeded in life, and how some of them haven't. Combined with the backdrop of changing times in Detroit, there's a strong compare-and-contrast theme going on, and while Detroit is definitely portrayed as being in decay, somehow there's also a sense of hope that maybe, just maybe, some of these people who stay put can find a way to revive it.
Overall I enjoyed it; I did feel like there could have been just three or four tighter viewpoints rather than several, which ended up leaving some characters more thinly drawn than others. Sometimes the use of dialogue for exposition was tiring, and sometimes there was more backstory than was really necessary. I wouldn't say I loved it or raved about it, but on the other hand, I was never tempted to put it down. The faults I found with it are not uncommon in a debut novel, and I finished the book thinking I would happily read the next book Flournoy writes.