Om Above Sugar Hill
Sugar Hill is the area between 145th Street and 155th street in Manhattan, the place the best known residents of Harlem lived - Paul Robeson, Duke Ellington, and W. E. B. Du Bois all once lived there. North of Sugar Hill - above it - is Washington Heights. If you walk into a shop and look for maps of Manhattan, if you download a map meant for visitors to New York, you won't find either place - they have been excised from most guides to New York.These stories take place in Upper Manhattan between 1973 and 2001 - a Puerto Rican Independentista fends off the FBI while she looks after her friends' children, a young girl spots Marilyn Monroe more than ten years after Monroe's suicide, an opera-singing housing activist goes missing and presumed to have been murdered." Where I come from is tiny," observes the narrator of one of the stories. "Women run the short block screaming when their purses get snatched. Blam blams and the fire of flying heat cut the night."Each piece of fiction in this collection is about people whose lives play out on those streets - between 145th and 181st Street - streets no one from outside the neighbourhood is expected to visit.