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  New York Times Review

THE ABUNDANCE: Narrative Essays Old and New, by Annie Dillard. (Ecco/HarperCollins, $15.99.) Dillard selects 22 of her best pieces from the past four decades, including dispatches from coastal Maine and a New Age Catholic church. Across these essays, "her preferred method is to transform, through the alchemy of metaphor, natural phenomena into spiritual ones," Donovan Hohn said here. EVICTED: Poverty and Profit in the American City, by Matthew Desmond. (Broadway, $17.) In this wrenching account, one of the Book Review's 10 Best Books of 2016, Desmond, a Harvard sociologist, chronicles eight impoverished families around Milwaukee for whom eviction is a near-constant fear. While these tenants live in squalor, their landlords and others profit from their misfortune; the book casts light on how the poor are regularly exploited. NOT IN GOD'S NAME: Confronting Religious Violence, by Jonathan Sacks. (Schocken, $16.95.) Sacks, a rabbi, argues that religion must be part of the solution to combating what he sees as politicized religious extremism. Drawing on Genesis for guidance, he outlines an argument that justice and decency should prevail over loyalty toward one's own group. THE LITTLE RED CHAIRS, by Edna O'Brien. (Back Bay/Little, Brown, $15.99.) A mysterious outsider arrives in a small Irish town, leaving residents at turns curious and skeptical. There's reason for concern: He's a Balkan War criminal, but succeeds in transfixing the locals, who view him as a healer or holy man, until his secret comes out. His relationship with a young woman, her naïveté dispelled, threatens to upend her life, but she gains strength and confidence from the ordeal. O'Brien's "unsettling fabulist vision" recalls "Nabokov in his darker, less playful mode," our reviewer, Joyce Carol Oates, wrote here. MR. SPLITFOOT, by Samantha Hunt. (Mariner, $14.95.) Ruth and Nat, two orphans in a foster home headed by a religious fanatic, discover an ability to speak to the dead; when a con man learns of their talent, he's eager to profit from it. In alternating chapters, the story jumps to the present day, when Ruth - who has become eerily mute - lures her pregnant niece on a journey by foot across New York State. SUDDEN DEATH, byÁIvaro Enrigue. Translated by Natasha Wimmer. (Riverhead, $16.) In a novel bursting with historical figures - Galileo, Anne Boleyn, Caravaggio - 16th-century monks imbue tennis matches with spiritual import; a French executioner is himself executed; and Spanish conquistadors carry out their bloody siege of Mexico, a merger of civilizations with "planetary aftershocks."D

  Library Journal Review

Desmond's (sociology, Harvard Univ.) eye-opening and revelatory book clearly conveys that one will never truly understand poverty without grappling with the crisis of precarious housing. The narrative follows the lives of several families and individuals living in some of the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee and tracks their harrowing searches for affordable shelter. This nearly futile pursuit of home is made worse by an uncaring bureaucracy. Desmond lays out evidence that the relationships between landlords and low-income tenants and the apparatus that supports the status quo-eviction courts being one conspicuous piece-are thoroughly broken. This timely examination of some of the root causes of systemic poverty is flawlessly read by Dion Graham. VERDICT A copy of Evicted should be in every public library and in the hands of every politician. ["This resource is highly recommended for academic libraries as well as public-policy advocates seeking to understand issues relating to the lack of affordable housing": LJ 1/16 starred review of the Crown hc.]--Denis Frias, -Mississauga Lib. Syst., Ont. © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Booklist Review

*Starred Review* It's hard to paint a slumlord as a sympathetic character, but Harvard professor Desmond manages to do so in this compelling look at home evictions in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, one of America's most segregated cities. Two landlords are profiled here: Sherrena, who owns dozens of dilapidated units on Milwaukee's infamous North Side, and Tobin, who runs a trailer park on the South Side. They're in it to make money, to be sure, but they also have a tendency to rent to those in need and to look the other way. More often than not, however, they find themselves hauling tenants to eviction court, and here we meet eight families. Among them are Arleen, a single mother dragging her two youngest sons across town in urgent search of a warm, safe place; Scott, a drug addict desperate to crawl up from rock bottom; and Larraine, who loses all of her belongings when she's evicted. Desmond's natural storytelling style easily moves from engaging narrative (at times a tad florid, particularly when describing events he was not present for) to straight reporting. He does a marvelous job telling these harrowing stories of people who find themselves in bad situations, shining a light on how eviction sets people up to fail. He also makes the case that eviction disproportionately affects women (and, worse, their children). This is essential reading for anyone interested in social justice, poverty, and feminist issues, but its narrative nonfiction style will also draw general readers.--Vnuk, Rebecca Copyright 2016 Booklist

  Kirkus Review

A groundbreaking work on the central role of housing in the lives of the poor. Based on two years (2008-2009) spent embedded with eight poor families in Milwaukee, Desmond (Sociology and Social Science/Harvard Univ.; On the Fireline: Living and Dying with Wildland Firefighters, 2007, etc.) delivers a gripping, novelistic narrative exploring the ceaseless cycle of "making rent, delaying eviction, or finding another place to live when homeless" as experienced by adults and children, both black and white, surviving in trailer parks and ghettos. "We have failed to fully appreciate how deeply housing is implicated in the creation of poverty," writes the author. Once rare, eviction is now commonplace for millions of Americans each year, most often as a result of insufficient government support, rising rent and utility costs, and stagnant incomes. Having gained unusual access to these families, Desmond immerses us in the lives of Sherrena Tarver, a teacher-turned-landlord who rents inner-city units to the black poor; Tobin Charney, who nets more than $400,000 yearly on 131 poorly maintained trailers rented (at $550 a month) to poor whites; and disparate tenants who struggle to make rent for cramped, decrepit units plagued by poor plumbing, lack of heat, and code violations. The latter include Crystal, 18, raised in more than two dozen foster homes, who moved in with three garbage bags of clothes, and Arleen, a single mother, who contacted more than 80 apartment owners in her search for a new home. Their frantic experiencesthey spend an astonishing 70 to 80 percent of their incomes on rentmake for harrowing reading, interspersed with moving moments revealing their resilience and humanity. "All this suffering is shameful and unnecessary," writes Desmond, who bolsters his stories with important new survey findings. He argues that universal housing vouchers and publicly funded legal services for the evicted (90 percent lack attorneys in housing courts) would help alleviate this growing, often overlooked housing crisis. This stunning, remarkable booka scholar's 21st-century How the Other Half Livesdemands a wide audience. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Summary
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER | KIRKUS PRIZE FOR NONFICTION FINALIST | LONGLISTED FOR THE PEN/JOHN KENNETH GALBRAITH AWARD FOR NONFICTION |  NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR by  The New York Times Book Review  *  The Boston Globe  *   The Washington Post  *   NPR   * Entertainment Weekly  *  The New Yorker *  Bloomberg  *   Esquire  * San Francisco Chronicle *  Milwaukee Journal Sentinel  *  St. Louis Post-Dispatch  *   Politico  *   Bookpage  *  Kirkus Reviews   *    Amazon   *   Barnes and Noble Review  *    Apple   *    Library Journal * Chicago Public Library  *  Publishers Weekly  * Booklist *  Shelf Awareness <br> <br> From Harvard sociologist and MacArthur "Genius" Matthew Desmond, a landmark work of scholarship and reportage that will forever change the way we look at poverty in America<br>   <br> In this brilliant, heartbreaking book, Matthew Desmond takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge. Arleen is a single mother trying to raise her two sons on the $20 a month she has left after paying for their rundown apartment. Scott is a gentle nurse consumed by a heroin addiction. Lamar, a man with no legs and a neighborhood full of boys to look after, tries to work his way out of debt. Vanetta participates in a botched stickup after her hours are cut. All are spending almost everything they have on rent, and all have fallen behind.<br> <br> The fates of these families are in the hands of two landlords: Sherrena Tarver, a former schoolteacher turned inner-city entrepreneur, and Tobin Charney, who runs one of the worst trailer parks in Milwaukee. They loathe some of their tenants and are fond of others, but as Sherrena puts it, "Love don't pay the bills." She moves to evict Arleen and her boys a few days before Christmas.<br> <br> Even in the most desolate areas of American cities, evictions used to be rare. But today, most poor renting families are spending more than half of their income on housing, and eviction has become ordinary, especially for single mothers. In vivid, intimate prose, Desmond provides a ground-level view of one of the most urgent issues facing America today. As we see families forced  into shelters, squalid apartments, or more dangerous neighborhoods, we bear witness to the human cost of America's vast inequality--and to people's determination and intelligence in the face of hardship.<br> <br> Based on years of embedded fieldwork and painstakingly gathered data, this masterful book transforms our understanding of extreme poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving a devastating, uniquely American problem. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible.<br> <br> -  New York Times Book Review , 100 Notable Books of 2016<br> - Los Angeles Times, The 10 Most Important Books of 2016<br> -  Washington Post , Top 10 Title for 2016
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