From the author of the acclaimed The Dry Grass of August comes a richly researched yet lyrical Southern-set novel that explores the conflicts of gentrification—a moving story of loss, love, and resilience.
In 1961 Charlotte, North Carolina, the predominantly black neighborhood of Brooklyn is a bustling city within a city. Self-contained and vibrant, it has its own restaurants, schools, theaters, churches, and nightclubs. There are shotgun shacks and poverty, along with well-maintained houses like the one Loraylee Hawkins shares with her young son, Hawk, her Uncle Ray, and her grandmother, Bibi. Loraylee’s love for Archibald Griffin, Hawk’s white father and manager of the cafeteria where she works, must be kept secret in the segregated South.
Loraylee has heard rumors that the city plans to bulldoze her neighborhood, claiming it’s dilapidated and dangerous. The government promises to provide new housing and relocate businesses. But locals like Pastor Ebenezer Polk, who’s facing the demolition of his church, know the value of Brooklyn does not lie in bricks and mortar. Generations have lived, loved, and died there, supporting and strengthening each other. Yet street by street, longtime residents are being forced out. And Loraylee, searching for a way to keep her family together, will form new alliances—and find an unexpected path that may yet lead her home.
“Mayhew leads readers down the neighborhood streets and into its businesses and the lives of its residents and doesn’t shy away from showing the neighborhood as it really was, a mixture of good and bad, but always home. Readers drawn to the well-defined characters of Stephanie Powell Watts and Thomas Mullen will find Brooklyn tugging at their hearts.”
“Tender and fierce . . . it’s a novel about love—contrary and insistent and infinitely surprising.”
—Cat Warren, New York Times bestselling author
“Sings to life the necessities of community, resting places and home. A tale profoundly relevant for our time.”
—Elaine Neil Orr, author of Swimming Between Worlds