Date & Time
Wednesday, January 29, 2020
57th Street Books
Free and open to the public
Seminary Co-op Bookstore
“These are patient, profoundly compassionate stories about the small shocks and flickers of transcendence in ordinary Chicagoans’ lives. Told in hauntingly spare prose reminiscent of Raymond Carver’s, Drain’s stories take a moment to sink in. Once they do, they don’t leave you.”—Sam Graham-Felsen, author of "Green"
Jasmon Drain discusses "Stateway's Garden." He will be joined in conversation with Ben Austen. A Q&A and signing will follow their discussion.
At 57th Street Books
About the book: Before being torn down in 2007, the Stateway Gardens public housing projects on Chicago's South Side were ridden with deprivation and crime. But for some, like Tracy, the shy, intelligent young boy at the center of Jasmon Drain's enthralling collection of linked stories—"Stateway's Garden"—they are simply home.
"Stateway's Garden" is a coming-of-age story told in short stories, through the lens of a childhood made rough by the crush of poverty and violence, with the crack epidemic a looming specter ahead. And yet, through the experiences and ambitions of Tracy and other young characters, Drain reveals a vibrant community that creates its own ecosystem, all set in a series of massive, seemingly soulless concrete buildings. Not shying away from the darkness of life for his characters, Drain shows the full complexity of their human experiences.
Exquisitely detailed and novelistic in scope, this collection of stories will linger in your mind long after you have turned the final page
About the author: Jasmon Drain is a 2010 and 2011 Pushcart Prize nominee. He grew up in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago, and currently resides in the Kenwood neighborhood.
About the interlocutor: Ben Austen is is the author of "High-Risers: Cabrini-Green and the Fate of American Public Housing," which was shortlisted for the Goddard Riverside Stephan Russo Book Prize for Social Justice, and named one of the best books of 2018 by Booklist. He is currently at work on a narrative nonfiction book about the parole system and the county’s practices around crime and punishment.