Cover image for Halsey Street
Title:
Halsey Street
ISBN:
9781503941175

9781503941168
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
©2017

New York : Little A, [2017]
Physical Description:
320 pages ; 22 cm
Summary:
Penelope Grand has scrapped her failed career as an artist in Pittsburgh and moved back to Brooklyn to keep an eye on her ailing father. She's accepted that her future won't be what she'd dreamed, but now, as gentrification has completely reshaped her old neighborhood, even her past is unrecognizable. Old haunts have been razed, and wealthy white strangers have replaced every familiar face in Bed-Stuy. Even her mother, Mirella, has abandoned the family to reclaim her roots in the Dominican Republic. That took courage. It's also unforgivable. When Penelope moves into the attic apartment of the affluent Harpers, she thinks she's found a semblance of family, and maybe even love. But her world is upended again when she receives a postcard from Mirella asking for reconciliation. As old wounds are reopened, and secrets revealed, a journey across an ocean of sacrifice and self-discovery begins.
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Summary

Summary

"A masterful tale of family failures and forgiveness." -- People

A modern-day story of family, loss, and renewal, Halsey Street captures the deeply human need to belong--not only to a place but to one another.

Penelope Grand has scrapped her failed career as an artist in Pittsburgh and moved back to Brooklyn to keep an eye on her ailing father. She's accepted that her future won't be what she'd dreamed, but now, as gentrification has completely reshaped her old neighborhood, even her past is unrecognizable. Old haunts have been razed, and wealthy white strangers have replaced every familiar face in Bed-Stuy. Even her mother, Mirella, has abandoned the family to reclaim her roots in the Dominican Republic. That took courage. It's also unforgivable.

When Penelope moves into the attic apartment of the affluent Harpers, she thinks she's found a semblance of family--and maybe even love. But her world is upended again when she receives a postcard from Mirella asking for reconciliation. As old wounds are reopened, and secrets revealed, a journey across an ocean of sacrifice and self-discovery begins.

An engrossing debut, Halsey Street shifts between the perspectives of these two captivating, troubled women. Mirella has one last chance to win back the heart of the daughter she'd lost long before leaving New York, and for Penelope, it's time to break free of the hold of the past and start navigating her own life.


Reviews 3

School Library Journal Review

Penelope is in a quarter-life crisis. Having dropped out of art school, she spends her days underemployed, drinking gin, and taking anonymous lovers. She can no longer hide out in Pittsburgh when she receives a call that her father, the incomparable Ralph Grand, has harmed himself, and she must come back to her home in Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn and care for him. Matters are further complicated when Penelope must reach out to her estranged mother, Mirella, now living in the Dominican Republic, who abandoned her father a few years before to rediscover herself back in the country of her birth. With great subtlety and detail, Coster has woven a tale that deals with gentrification, loneliness, and a very flawed and complex family. Penelope is deeply imperfect but remains relatable and real. As she navigates a neighborhood that was once her childhood home, as well as the location of her father's once successful business, she and her family grieve not only for what they've lost but also what they have become. VERDICT This is a tender story that packs as much hurt as it does heart. Recommended for fans of Zinzi Clemmons's What We Lose and Brit Bennett's The Mothers.-Christina Vortia, Hype Lit, Land O'Lakes, FL © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publisher's Weekly Review

In her perceptive, memorable debut, Coster reveals the personal toll that gentrification takes on one damaged Bed-Stuy family. Twenty-something art school dropout Penelope Grand has been living in Pittsburgh for several years and has no plans to return to her native Brooklyn. But after her ailing father, Ralph, takes a fall, she returns to help care for him. Ralph's record store was once the crown jewel of the neighborhood's black-owned businesses, with all the status that conferred; after business dwindled and he sold out to a trendy organic grocer, he has steadily declined, along with-in his estimation-the neighborhood itself. "It's all just stuff to them," he tells Penelope. "Stuff they think they deserve because they can afford it." Penelope's homecoming dredges up uncomfortable memories; as she negotiates the still-familiar streets, she attempts to define her place within her family, neighborhood, and artistic community, all of which comes to a head when her estranged mother invites her to the Dominican Republic. Penelope's status as both an insider and an outsider in her childhood home affords Coster an acute perspective from which to consider the repercussions of gentrification, as well as a family's legacy of self-destruction. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Penelope Graves is in Pittsburgh, trying to establish herself as an artist. She is also trying to establish herself as, well, herself-reconciling herself to her heritage. Her father is African American, and her mother is Dominican. When they split up, her father stayed in Brooklyn to run his record store and her mother returned to her own mother's house in the Dominican Republic. Penny returns to the rapidly gentrifying Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant to look after her ailing father. Penny's mother, Mirelle, writes to Penny asking for reconciliation, and Penny's loyalty is torn three ways: to her mother, to her father, and to herself. It takes the friendship and (eventually) love of John, a local bartender, to provide Penny with the anchor that she needs. Bahni Turpin's narration is strong and clear, though it is annoying that she continually pronounces "RISD" [Rhode Island School of Design] as the letters "R-I-S-D" rather than the acronym "Rizdee," which is how any former student would refer to it. VERDICT Recommended for contemporary public library collections. ["Coster's realistic depictions of these two hurt and angry women and the broken man who connects them will haunt readers while making them flinch, gasp, and quite possibly cry.... not to be missed": LJ 1/18 starred review of the Little A hc.]-Nann Blaine Hilyard, Winthrop Harbor, IL © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.