As I sped through Alyssa Cole’s new thriller, “When No One Is Watching,” gripped by the fear and paranoia generated for her characters by the very real specter of losing a family home and a true community through gentrification and neighborhood “development,” I started to think back on similar books I’ve read over the years.
Since the term was first coined by a sociologist in London in the 1960s to describe working class people being displaced from their neighborhoods, gentrification has been the subject of many a story told, through fiction and nonfiction, in different genres and formats (including empanada-centric horror podcasts).
So, if you are on the waiting list for “When No One Is Watching,” here is a list of some of the best recent stories featuring gentrification at their core.
There are subtle stories of coming home to find things irrevocably changed, or finding that your leaving home is coinciding with your neighborhood dissolving.
There is a retelling of “Pride and Prejudice,” set in present-day New York City, and a poignant movie wracking one man’s dream of an ancestral home in a city that refuses to acknowledge his history.
There are overt sci-fi parables of monsters in the basement and from alternate realities, destroying the life of a city or apartment building.
And there is one important nonfiction work that sets forth the racist history of redlining and creating the conditions for Black neighborhood decline in a compelling and devastating narrative.
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