Bed-Stuy Is Burning by Brian Platzer
Do the Right Thing meets The Bonfire of the Vanities, in this “thrilling debut novel about marriage, gentrification, parenthood, race, and the dangerous bargains we make with ourselves” (Ann Packer, New York Times bestselling author) set over the course of one cataclysmic day when riots erupt in a rapidly gentrifying Brooklyn neighborhood.
Aaron, a disgraced rabbi turned Wall Street banker, and Amelia, his journalist girlfriend, live with their newborn in Bedford-Stuyvesant, one of the most dynamic and historically volatile neighborhoods in New York City. The infusion of upwardly mobile professionals into Bed-Stuy’s historic brownstones belies the tension simmering on the streets below. But after a cop shoots a boy in a nearby park, conflict escalates to rioting—with Aaron and his family at its center.
Pulled into the riot’s vortex are Antoinette, devout nanny to Aaron and Amelia’s son; Jupiter, the single father who lives on their block with his son, Derek; Daniel, Aaron’s unhinged tenant in their basement unit; and Sara, a smart local girl, broiling with confusion and rage. As the day unfolds, these diverse characters are forced to reckon with who they are and what truly matters to them.
With “the mordant wit of Franzen, the dazzling smarts of Roth, and the compassion of Tolstoy” (Rafael Yglesias, author of A Happy Marriage), Platzer conjures a sharp-eyed, fast-paced, and empathetically rendered narrative about a changing neighborhood and its residents, as they struggle to raise children, establish careers, and find love, fulfillment, and meaning. Bed-Stuy Is Burning offers a window into an array of complex lives and deftly wrestles with the most pressing issues of our time with unflinching focus, wisdom, and hope.