September Barrington Books Book Club, "Stories From The Tenants Downstairs" by Sidik Fofana

Please join us for our September meeting of the

Barrington Books Book Club

on Thursday, September 29th

at 7:00pm.

We are reading 

Stories From The Tenants Downstairs

by Sidik Fofana.

About the book:

Set in a Harlem high rise, a stunning debut about a tight-knit cast of characters grappling with their own personal challenges while the forces of gentrification threaten to upend life as they know it.

Like Gloria Naylor’s The Women of Brewster Place and Lin Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights, Sidik Fofana’s electrifying collection of eight interconnected stories showcases the strengths, struggles, and hopes of one residential community in a powerful storytelling experience.

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 is Swan in apartment 6B, whose excitement about his friend’s release from prison jeopardizes the life he’s been trying to lead. Mimi, in apartment 14D, who hustles to raise the child she had with Swan, waitressing at Roscoe’s and doing hair on the side. And Quanneisha B. Miles, a former gymnast with a good education who wishes she could leave Banneker for good, but can’t seem to escape the building’s gravitational pull. We root for these characters and more as they weave in and out of each other’s lives, endeavoring to escape from their pasts and blaze new paths forward for themselves and the people they love.

Stories from the Tenants Downstairs brilliantly captures the joy and pain of the human experience and heralds the arrival of a uniquely talented writer.


About the author:

Sidik Fofana earned an MFA from New York University. He lives with his wife and son in New York City where he is a public school teacher.


Praise for Stories From The Tenants Downstairs:

Named a BEST BOOK OF THE MONTH by Good HousekeepingEssenceChicago Review of Books, and Goodreads.

"Few writers can inhabit multiple characters with equal intensity and vivacity, and most who can are, of course, playwrights or screenwriters...Sidik Fofana’s debut collection reveals him to have this rare gift." --Harpers

“A standout achievement... American speech is an underused commodity in contemporary fiction and it’s a joy to find such a vital example of it here." –The Wall Street Journal

“Fofana’s debut is impressive — his characters exude life and the different voices stay with the reader long after the book has been shelved.” --The Boston Globe

“Outstanding… Stories From the Tenants Downstairs masterfully paints a portrait of the people most impacted by gentrification.” –The New York Times Book Review

“It’s impossible not to get sucked into this debut effort.” –Essence

“Fofana deftly steers away from stereotypes and into the psychological interior of each character's life. And he does this so powerfully through voice. Each story in the collection is a lesson in how language defines character — and, therefore, reality.” –The Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Fofana acts as both storyteller and anthropologist, brilliantly capturing the scrapes, scents, and spirit of this gentrifying neighborhood… Stories from the Tenants Downstairs aches with powerlessness against tides of gentrification and poverty. At the same time, its boisterous cast of characters seems to embody a new power — the power in telling one’s own story.” —Chapter 16

“The portraits are conveyed in tight-woven, propulsive, rhythmically rich vernacular… A singular accomplishment from a writer to watch.” –Library Journal (starred review)

“Fofana shows an ear for pacing and for evocative, frequently musical language... A striking voice, and his protagonists will linger in readers' imaginations." –Shelf Awareness

"The residents of a low-income high-rise apartment building in Harlem form the beating heart of Fofana’s dynamic debut collection... These engrossing and gritty stories of tenuous living in a gentrifying America enchant." –Publisher's Weekly (starred review)

“Captivating... vividly and desperately authentic.” –Kirkus Reviews (starred review)


Thursday, September 29, 2022 - 7:00pm to 8:30pm


Barrington Books, 184 County Road, Barrington, RI 02806


Stories from the Tenants Downstairs By Sidik Fofana Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982145811
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner - August 16th, 2022



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