The Stories in This Chicago Housing Project Could Fill a Book


Chicago Housing Project, South Side Chicago


A story late in the Chicago author Jasmon Drain’s debut, “Stateway’s Garden,” begins: “Our mothers take credit, but in Stateway we raised ourselves.” It’s a telling sentence, a kind of key to the whole enterprise. We are introduced from the first page to a cast of tenants living in the low-income housing project in the mid-1980s, individuals who recur across the collection, finding different ways to connect, disconnect and let one another down. But, much like the tenement in Gloria Naylor’s “The Women of Brewster Place,” it’s these characters’ living space that is the book’s real protagonist.


By Rion Amilcar Scott