Halsey Street: Book summary and reviews of Halsey Street by Naima Coster

Halsey Street

A Novel

by Naima Coster

Halsey Street by Naima Coster X
Halsey Street by Naima Coster
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  • Publishes in USA 
    Jan 1, 2018
    332 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A quiet gut-punch of a debut…Absorbing and alive, the kind of novel that swallows you whole." - Kirkus Reviews

"[A] poignant, moving book, written with deep empathy and sophistication." - Ben Marcus, author of Leaving the Sea and The Flame Alphabet

"In this lovely novel, Naima Coster captures, with depth and nuance, the yearnings, ambivalence, and insecurities of a woman on the brink of adulthood...An exceptional debut that explores how to find meaning within the shifting emotions and tangled webs of connection." - Christina Baker Kline, New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train and Piece of the World

"Naima Coster's first novel is rich and flavorsome, a portrait of a Brooklyn neighborhood in decline and renewal, and of a young woman—a risk-taker, fierce and yet loving. First novels rarely come as skilled, touching, and real as Halsey Street." - John Crowley, author of Ka and Little, Big

"Coster's absorbing and beautifully written novel Halsey Street haunts me still. Set in two cities I love, Pittsburgh and New York, it's both lucidly familiar and emotionally unpredictable. It's a novel that faces head-on the complicated ways women are split between their duty to their families and their personal passions. In this deeply profound and moving story, Penelope es tremenda!"- Cruz, author of Soledad and Let It Rain Coffee

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Naima Coster is a native of Fort Greene, Brooklyn. She holds an MFA in fiction from Columbia University, an MA in English and creative writing from Fordham University, and a BA in English and African American studies from Yale. The recipient of numerous awards, her stories and essays have appeared in the New York Times, Guernica, Arts & Letters, Kweli, and the Rumpus. A former editor of CURA and a former mentor of Girls Write Now, Coster is also a proud alumna of Prep for Prep, the leadership development program in New York City aiding high-potential minority students in public, charter, and parochial schools. She currently teaches writing at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, where she lives with her family. Halsey Street is her first novel.

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