A poet in search of reality finds a world of hookers, street preachers, blue-collar workers, and small time hoods that changes him and his outlook
Philadelphia's South Street is a world of contradiction. The hardscrabble neighborhood is filled with prostitutes and gangsters; Working stiffs mingle with winos at Lightnin' Ed's bar. But the streetwalkers are nearing retirement, the gangsters are unemployed, and a community is thriving in and around a place written off by officials and politicians as blighted.
Black poet Adlai Stevenson Brown makes his way to South Street in search of authenticity in the form of a neighborhood to save. But the world of South Street - beyond its grit and danger - is more than the cultured young fish out of water ever expected... and a lot more than he can handle.
PEN/Faulkner Award–winner David Bradley's marvelous debut novel is riotously funny and keenly insightful in equal measure. South Street is a magnificent evocation not only of a vanished time, but of an American archetype in Adlai - a man in search of someone to save, unaware that he himself may need saving.