Blurb Book Review: Stories From the Tenants Downstairs by Sidik Fofana (spoilers ahead)

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Banneker Terrace is a building in Harlem. Everyone seems to know everyone else, or at least know of everyone else. The area is undergoing gentrification, adding stress to the tenants’ already stressful lives.

The eight stories are intertwined beautifully and examine the realities of being pushed out of your home while you struggle to make ends meet and get on with life. While I’ve never personally been to Harlem, I felt like the novel transported me there. I do have some experience in poverty and I must say the author represented it well. Money is a main concern and dreams of making it big fuel the day.

The narrative style was a bit jarring at first but I was engrossed quickly. I adored how each story’s style spoke to the main character as well. I could hear the people talking and feel their personalities come off the page.

This is a though-provoking novel of hardship and human connection. The author did a wonderful job in making this book feel like a private peek into neighbour’s lives. Highly recommend.