Some books simply speak to you. That was the case for me with Halsey Street by Naima Coster.
Penelope’s story of leaving Pittsburgh and returning home to Brooklyn to keep an eye on her father, whose health has deteriorated almost as much as their family home on Halsey Street.
The Brooklyn Penelope returns to is undergoing gentrification. All the old businesses, including the record shop her father owned, have disappeared, as have many of the neighbours she knew, replaced now by hipsters and upwardly mobile white urban professionals with the cash to pay higher rents and property prices. Penelope tries to find her way–in her personal life, with her father and the past–as her old neighborhood transforms around her–for good and bad.
Coster does a fantastic job of pulling the reader into this story of family, loss and change. She captures perfectly Penelope’s frustration at her situation and her father’s, at the attraction she feels for her landlord’s husband, and her uncertainty of what the rest of life has in store for her. The characterisation and story arc are detailed without being overwrought. Quite simply, this is prose that sparkles.