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Stateway's Garden: Stories

Stateway's Garden: Stories
$26.00

Carrie:I happened to read this in the midst of the George Floyd protests and while it is fiction (with auto-biographical overtones) the systemic poverty and “separateness” of Black American neighborhoods resonated.  Drain is a local Chicago author who grew up in Englewood, so his depiction of the city rings true. This is a series of connected I happened to read this in the midst of the George Floyd protests and while it is fiction (with auto-biographical overtones) the systemic poverty and “separateness” of Black American neighborhoods resonated.  Drain is a local Chicago author who grew up in Englewood, so his depiction of the city rings true. This is a series of connected stories that could stand alone, but have more meaning when read together. Tracy, the main narrator is a young boy living in the Stateway's Garden projects with his half-brother Jacob and his single mother who works hard to keep them fed and safe. Tracy is her "smart son" and Jacob is the "pretty one" and this designation by their mother seems to be self-fulfilling prophecy as Tracy takes a more straight and narrow approach and Jacob struggles. It is eloquently written and impressive in its honesty of the issues faced in project life in social, economic and racial inequalities. Especially poignant was the description of the harrowing trip to a nearby college where the grass is lush and green and the boys consider themselves on "vacation." Eye opening in how our living environments shape us.

NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW EDITORS' CHOICE - A blazingly original story collection about the interconnected lives of the residents of a public housing project on the South Side of Chicago

"The residents and their buoyant dreams are documented, celebrated, honored. I bow to this writer in gratitude."--Sandra Cisneros

Before being torn down in 2007, the Stateway Gardens public housing projects on Chicago's South Side were ridden with deprivation and crime. But for some, like Tracy, the shy, intelligent young boy at the center of this enthralling collection of linked stories, they are simply home. Set in the mid-1980s and taking readers up to the point of the destruction of the infamous Cabrini-Green housing projects--a set of buildings similar in design to Stateway Gardens to the south--this collection gives an intimate look at the hopes, dreams, failures, and fortunes of a group of people growing up with the deck always stacked against them. Through Jasmon Drain's sensitive and often playful prose, we see another side of what we have come to know as "the projects."

Stateway's Garden is a coming-of-age story told in short stories, through the lens of a childhood made rough by the crush of poverty and violence, with the crack epidemic a looming specter ahead. And yet, through the experiences and ambitions of Tracy and other young characters, Drain reveals a vibrant community that creates its own ecosystem, all set in a series of massive, seemingly soulless concrete buildings. Not shying away from the darkness of life for his characters, Drain shows the full complexity of their human experiences.

Exquisitely detailed and novelistic in scope, this collection of stories will linger in your mind long after you have turned the final page.

ISBN: 
9781984818164
Author: 
Binding: 
Hardcover
Publisher: 
Publication Date: 
January 21, 2020
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