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Staten Island Stories

'Staten Island Stories' cover image

Staten Island Stories

New York City's Staten Island is often described as the forgotten borough. But with Staten Island Stories, Claire Jimenez shines a spotlight on the imagined lives of the islanders. Inspired by Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, this collection of loosely linked tragicomic short stories travels across time to explore defining moments in the island's history, from the 2003 Staten Island Ferry crash and the New York City blackout to the growing opioid and heroin crisis, Eric Garner's murder, and the 2016 presidential election.

In the opening story, "Tale of the Angry Adjunct," an overworked college teacher, unable to pay her rent, is stalked by an angry debt collector as she desperately tries to find a full-time job. In "Who Would Break the Dark First," a Puerto Rican family moves into a haunted townhouse built over an old eighteenth-century cemetery. And in "Great Kills," two women attend a high school reunion looking for revenge, but instead find redemption.

Examining how the men and women within these stories navigate—and struggle to survive—the challenges of racism, classism, and addiction, Jimenez crafts tight, compelling portraits of working people. Her tough, energetic voice will stay with you long after you put the book down.