by Alexai Galaviz-Budziszewski
$24.00 List Price
South and west of central Chicago, there is no 22nd Street. Rather, between 21st and 23rd, the signs read Cermak Road. This thoroughfare follows the Red Line down from the big-money Loop to the threadbare African-American South Side. Roughly halfway between those two poles it crosses Pilsen. The neighborhood's name derives from the Czech—the people of Chicago author Stuart Dybek—and it has always been an immigrant enclave. In the twenty-first century, the neighborhood is also home to a large community of Hispanics. Thus, the moving, energetic Painted Cities—the debut story collection of a Chicago author to be reckoned with—describes the Pilsen of Alonzo and Flaca and Mrs. Calderòn. These folks prefer the name 22nd Street. They like the security of a number; their lives feel unmoored enough as it is.
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