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Brooklynite’s debut novel is set against a landscape of gentrification

Brooklyn BookBeat

December 21, 2017 By Angela Johnson Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Naima Coster. Photo by Jonathan Jimenez
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No matter how you feel about gentrification, there is no denying that it has touched nearly every corner of Brooklyn and is changing the look of some of the borough’s most historic neighborhoods.

Fort Greene native Naima Coster has a deeply personal understanding of the impact of gentrification on longtime residents. The author, who currently teaches writing at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, wrote about the transformation of her beloved neighborhood for The New York Times in 2011, and gentrification is a central theme in her debut novel “Halsey Street.”

After spending five years in Pittsburgh, the novel’s protagonist Penelope Grand reluctantly returns to her Brooklyn neighborhood to care for her ailing father. Back on streets of her youth, she struggles to find what she left behind. Gentrification has turned the artist-turned-bartender’s childhood streets into something almost unrecognizable. As she adjusts to her new life in her old home, Penelope has to face hard truths, learn painful secrets and work to repair broken relationships. “Halsey Street” is a resonant novel that deals with love, loss, family and the inevitability of change.

The novel was edited by poet and editor Morgan Parker, and will be available in bookstores on Jan. 1, 2018.


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