Cover Image: Stories from the Tenants Downstairs

Stories from the Tenants Downstairs

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Member Reviews

A grown up Sideways Stories from Wayside school that gives you a look at all sorts of characters and their struggles. Fofana so quickly made me fall in love with each and I felt so deeply for all of them, feeling their sorrow with them. I loved the unique voices in every different story and how they all intertwined. Just brilliant.
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What a great concept. I love stories about people being connected by one thing, in this case the apartment building, and yet being so different from each other. It gave me Naylor vibes from The Women Brewster's Place.
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I stopped at 54%. I did enjoy that different narrators were used for each story. I felt that the book was somewhat enjoyable, but it didn't suck me in. I think the chapters were a bit too long.
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Though the lives of these tenants are filled with difficulties — unemployment, dead or absent parents, three people living in a one-bedroom apartment, no tangible prospects for the future — they are not miserable. Their optimism and sheer joy shine through in their picaresque antics. Lively language; feisty characters that might remind you of your own relatives, former classmates, or neighbors; sharp, varied plots; and timely themes: this was a pure pleasure to read. It's a stellar debut from a very talented writer. Fofana should win all the prizes.
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I enjoyed this one. I liked the setting and the background of the stories. It made me feel like this would make a great movie.
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This is a collection of well told linked short stories from a building in Harlem whose tenants are experiencing the effects of gentrification. It did not read as altogether original or never-been-done-before, but it was compelling and well written. It conveyed the vast range of experiences that can take place within a finite space.
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In Stories from the Tenants Downstairs, Sidik Fofana offers eight different first-person stories—each of them from a resident of a Harlem apartment tower that's being gentrified. The individual stories are painful. Sometimes that pain comes with a sense of hope; sometimes it doesn't. The reader gets to put these stories together as she reads, identifying common characters and concerns across them. This was a fast read, but one that was rich with detail and never felt rushed.

I received a free electronic review copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley; the opinions are my own.
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Heartbreaking and hopeful but evocative all the same, Stories from the Tenants Downstairs is a compelling debut that seemed too short when I finished the final story. There's no gloss over the "resilience" the residents of Banneker Homes must summon as a result of impending gentrification. Fofana doesn't ask the reader to feel one type of way about each tenant's situation, but hands each story to us as-is for the reader to decide. That act showed immense respect to the characters to me, and leaves me watching the author for what comes next.
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The frequent comparisons to Gloria Naylor’s The Women of Brewster Place convinced me to give this debut collection of eight interconnected short stories a try. Banneker Terrace stand at the corner of 129th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard, and it houses "a little bit of everybody." Rents are rising steeply, and gentrification is on everyone's minds. One by one, we hear from eight tenants, all of whom are Black, each dealing with their own struggle. My favorite story is "Ms. Dallas" (3C), voiced by a paraeducator increasingly exasperated with her job in a failing school, followed closely by "Federation for the Like-Minded" (2E), voiced by elderly Mr. Murray who just wants to play sidewalk chess in piece but the neighborhood police have other ideas, and he's not especially appreciative of the crusade launched by the building's busybodies to "assist" him. Readers should know content warnings abound: some stories are absolutely brutal, all are laden with compassion. I'm so glad I listened on audio: the full cast narration featuring Bahni Turpin, Joniece Abbott-Pratt, Dominic Hoffman and more was outstanding and brought Fofana's Black English Vernacular narrative to vivid life.
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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Stories From the Tenants Downstairs by Sidik Fofana

Happy publication day to Stories From the Tenants Downstairs! What an incredible debut 🙌🏻 

This story follows intertwined characters in a building in Harlem as they deal with personal struggles, while also fighting to keep their apartments amidst rising rent prices. 

If you read this one, I highly recommend the audiobook! I was blown away by the cast of narrators and how each character had its own narrator. It made the audiobook such an incredible experience 🎶 

I loved how each character’s story related to the story before, and how the reader got to see how everyone’s lived played out even when their story was over. Each story was unique, and I just couldn’t stop listening.

Fofana is a powerful storyteller, who was also able to weave very important social topics into the story. 

This is a book I highly recommend for everyone!!

Thank you @scribnerbooks for the #gifted e-copy and @simon.audio for the #gifted audiobook!
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Sidik Fofana has written a high caliber debut novel  consisting of eight interrelated stories about the residents of a high rise, low income housing development in Harlem. Each character highlighted has their own personal struggles but  a shared fear of encroaching gentrification. I marveled at the distinctive voices, the diversity of characters, their well plumbed strengths and weaknesses, each linked by a sense of place. This is highly accomplished writing seldom seen in a  debut.  Well done!

My thanks to Scribner for providing a drc via Netgalley.  Publication today 8/16/22.
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I struggled so hard to get into these stories and I spent a lot of time wishing I was listening to the audiobook for this one. Since it was just middle of the road as a whole, for me, I will not be sharing my review on goodreads so that I don't overshadow the glowing reviews this title has already and justly recieved!
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This was a beautifully-written collection of connected short stories that follow tenants of a high-rise in Harlem. Each story is written from the unique perspective of individual tenants and each story had a distinct voice that set it apart. I felt all the feelings while reading this. The stories are gritty and raw and I was completely immersed in it from the first word to the last. 

I was so impressed with this and I’m shocked that I haven’t heard more buzz about it since the author is clearly so talented.
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This was an impressive debut and short story collection. Despite the differences between each character, at the core, they were all struggling with the gentrification of their home and how to thrive in their changing world. I was fortunate enough to have the audio as well and I really enjoyed reading along with the audio. The narrators are fantastic! Thank you for this e-copy.
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This is a debut???? Sidik Fofana has written a jewel of a book -- a collection of eight interconnected stories that feature different residents in a low income Harlem High Rise.   Banneker Homes has just been sold and the new owners are attempting to push out the current residents. 

Each short story follows a tenant in the Banneker Homes, a low-income high rise in Harlem where gentrification weighs on everyone’s mind. There are single mothers, college drop outs, middle schoolers, hairdressers and waitresses...everyone is doing their best to stay afloat and support their loved ones.  These stories will break your heart and you will think of the characters for a long, long time.  As a teacher, the school chapter really hit home.
There is a bit of hopefulness woven throughout the book that keeps the glued to the page! What an achievement, If you like fantastic writing, interconnected stories, real life and urban living, then Stories From the Tenants Downstairs is for you!.#Scribner #NetGalley#Netgalleyreads #StoriesFromtheTenantsDownstairs #SidikFofana
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Stories from the Tenants Downstairs weaves the lives of multiple people living in the same building in Harlem together through short stories. I loved seeing how all of these characters were connected and how the speech patterns changed with each one. You could really tell that you were in someone’s story and how they were different. Overall this was a great concept and good read!
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A collection of inter-woven short stories that started out  absolutely fantastic but by the end had devolved into something I had to force myself to finish.
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I was very thankful to get to read this collection of stories.  There was so much resonance into the gentrification in Harlem and what will mean for those that live one day to the next.  These stories captured the interconnection that we all have in this world and how the smallest interaction can bring our lives together in a meaningful way, whether it be physically or some other way.  I think that the author really did a great job of capturing emotion and a compelling purpose for each of the people in these stories and I left this book wanting to read more.  I think so many people write off people that are living the struggle life and refuse to believe that they too are people and have needs and desires as well.  I want to read more from this author in the future.  Thanks for the ARC, NetGalley.
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Thanks so much to Scribner for the chance to read and review this book prior to release.

While I do think this will be great for a lot of people, the language and writing style did not work for me.

This will be available in August 12 for those interested.
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Thank you Scribner and NetGalley for the eARC! Stories from the Tenants Downstairs is a collection of interconnected short stories detailing the lives of different people living in Banneker Terrace, a low income high rise building in Harlem, as they face gentrification and displacement. The universe that Sidik Fofana creates within the Banneker Terrace is incredibly raw and drew me in immediately from the first story. The portrayal of gentrification and hardship is so well written and relevant to what is happening currently in so many communities that it felt like I was reading genuine accounts of people rather than a fictional novel. A new favorite and a very important read!
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