In these ten stories, each set in the changing landscapes of contemporary New York City, a range of characters--from children to grandmothers to ghosts—live through the responsibility of perceiving and the moral challenge of speaking up or taking action. Though they strive to connect, to remember, to stand up for, and to really see each other, they often fall short, and the structures they build around these ambitions and failures shape not only their own futures but the legacies and prospects of their families and their city.
Splendidly thought-provoking stories ... Brinkley pierces the superficial and obvious — that what meets the eye is all there is to see — by displaying a more nuanced portrait of how we perceive and are perceived ... Stylistically, the beginnings of these stories are akin to being thrust into a moving current — Brinkley doesn’t waste time on unnecessary setup or trivial fluff. His smooth prose rips and slips down the page, getting right to the point ... Brinkley is a writer whose versatility knows no boundaries. He can make you laugh, cry, contemplate life’s deepest questions, remember what it was like to be a child, and feel the warmth, or chill, of your own family history. Tapping into the sticky stuff of humanity, each story is a gift of the highest quality, reminding us that we are all both in the audience and on life’s stage, even if we don’t know it.
Like all good stories, Brinkley's are slices of life or dramas in miniature that, despite their relative brevity, come packed with incident, insight and emotion ... Some of Brinkley's finest stories depict romantic relationships blossoming or withering on the vine ... Well-drawn characters ... Brinkley is shaping up to be one of the most impressive contemporary practitioners of short stories. Here, as before, we watch in admiration as he makes a little go an extremely long way.
An extraordinary gathering of stories that confirms Brinkley’s place among the most moving, compelling and virtuosic practitioners of the short form ... What seems above all to define the particular brilliance of Brinkley’s artistry with the short form... is his ceaseless conjuring of the small groupings that crystallise the predicaments and joys, the folds and the creases, of contemporary life, and Black American life in particular.