Halsey Street

Halsey Street

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 comp...

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Title:Halsey Street
Author:Naima Coster
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Halsey Street Reviews

  • Christina Kline

    In this lovely novel, Naima Coster captures, with depth and nuance, the yearnings, ambivalence, and insecurities of a woman on the brink of adulthood. In the process of healing old wounds, Penelope Grand must mend complex fractures in relationships with her estranged mother in the Dominican Republic and her father in Brooklyn. An exceptional debut that limns the perils and hard-won pleasures of connection.

  • Cynthia

    In the end, I wanted to shake both Penelope and Mirella hard, and then pull them into a hug. Both beautifully flawed, complex, and dynamic characters. I'm still gathering my thoughts on this one, but I can't wait for everyone to read this come January.

    -----

    Full review 12/23: Looking back, it is fitting that I binge-read

    the same weekend that I binge-watched

    , the Spike Lee-directed television series based on his film from the 1980s. Both feature black Millennial

    In the end, I wanted to shake both Penelope and Mirella hard, and then pull them into a hug. Both beautifully flawed, complex, and dynamic characters. I'm still gathering my thoughts on this one, but I can't wait for everyone to read this come January.

    -----

    Full review 12/23: Looking back, it is fitting that I binge-read

    the same weekend that I binge-watched

    , the Spike Lee-directed television series based on his film from the 1980s. Both feature black Millennial women stumbling as they try to figure out the direction of their professional and personal lives, against the backdrop of gentrifying Brooklyn. Nola Darling and Penelope Grand are both complex characters—at times incredibly frustrating, often very relatable, and ultimately deeply flawed (i.e., human).

    I don't want to compare the book and the show too much, because I loved them both in different ways. But what they share, and what spoke to me most about this novel, is a deep sense of place: Brooklyn is vibrant and dynamic, a character in its own right that means different things to each person who encounters it. Like Jacqueline Woodson's

    , this book was transportive in the way all good stories are.

    In addition, I thought the development of the family dynamics at the center of this story, especially the painful, complicated mother-daughter relationship between Penelope and Mirella, was skillfully done. I've read few books that focus on the internal life of a mother, particularly a mother like Mirella who chooses her own freedom and (sort of?) happiness over her husband and daughter. Generally, I don't like when novels switch character perspectives, but here it felt right and necessary. I needed Mirella's point of view and voice in order to empathize with her and understand her.

    I really enjoyed

    . It is introspective and empathetic, in addition to being beautifully and assuredly written. I look forward to reading whatever Coster comes up with next.

    Thanks to Little A and the author for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  • Diane S ☔

    3.5 The oftentimes complicated relationship between mother and daughter is fully explored in this wonderful novel, that takes us from Brooklyn, New York to the Dominican Republic. This is not a quick read, the pace is rather slow in fact, but it covers the gentrification of a neighborhood, the disintegration of a marriage, and of a daughter who may wait too long to reconcile with her mother.

    What made this a special read for me is that I could picture all this happening, it is so vividly written

    3.5 The oftentimes complicated relationship between mother and daughter is fully explored in this wonderful novel, that takes us from Brooklyn, New York to the Dominican Republic. This is not a quick read, the pace is rather slow in fact, but it covers the gentrification of a neighborhood, the disintegration of a marriage, and of a daughter who may wait too long to reconcile with her mother.

    What made this a special read for me is that I could picture all this happening, it is so vividly written, seemed so realistic.

    Mirella, the mother, and Penelope, the daughter are complex characters, sometimes likable, many times not. Their misunderstandings, years in the making are not easily resolved, especially as Penny seems only to understand and relate to her father. They narrate their stories in alternate chapters, and I have to admit loving those set in the Dominican Republic, the colors, the flavors of the Caribbean, so lush. We find out what happened between Mirella and Ralph, how they came to live in different countries. There is an iconic record story whose closing will start the downward spiral of marriage and neighborhood. We see how gentrification changes things, makes them unrecognizable, neighborhood and people.

    Most of all this is a realistic portray of the dynamics, flaws and all, of family relationships. Was a slower read but a good one.

    ARC from Netgalley.

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