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BookBrowse Reviews Stories from the Tenants Downstairs by Sidik Fofana

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Stories from the Tenants Downstairs

by Sidik Fofana

Stories from the Tenants Downstairs by Sidik Fofana X
Stories from the Tenants Downstairs by Sidik Fofana
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Aug 2022, 224 pages

    Paperback:
    Jun 13, 2023, 224 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Rebecca Foster
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Sidik Fofana's debut novel-in-stories orbits a Harlem apartment complex and spins bittersweet tales of ambition and disappointment in a range of vibrant voices.

"Everybody got a story, everybody got a tale / Question is: Is it despair or prevail?" These last lines of a short introduction in verse set up Sidik Fofana's aim: to depict the shifting fortunes of the residents of Banneker Terrace in Harlem. The building has new owners who plan to renovate and raise the rates. For many of the tenants, it's already a struggle to make rent each month, even if they hold down two or more jobs. So, while gentrification might be considered a positive thing in a neighborhood for some, it's bad news for the protagonists of these linked short stories.

Illegal hustling starts to look like a tempting option — if not a necessity. In "The Rent Manual" (which has second-person narration, in contrast to the first-person perspective of the other seven stories), Mimi is a waitress at a soul food restaurant and runs an informal home hairdressing ...

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Beyond the Book:
  Rent Control in New York City

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