Naima Coster, "Halsey Street"
Naima Coster, Halsey Street
Tuesday, January 23, 7pm
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.
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. Her stories and essays have appeared in the New York Times, Guernica, Arts & Letters, Kweli, and the Rumpus. Coster is the recipient of numerous awards and a Pushcart Prize nomination. 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 in North Carolina, where she lives with her family. Halsey Street is her first novel.