“What a powerful read. From the very first sentence we begin this incredible journey with this young man into himself…and the world around him. We laugh, we certainly tighten up at times, we hope and we do indeed cheer for a happy ending. I feel as if I know Jerald Walker not just through his words but through his heart. This is a must read for everyone who cares about the questions and the quest that being a human requires.”—Nikki Giovanni
“A daring, evocative, and unflinchingly honest memoir by an extraordinary writer with an extraordinary story to tell. On the basis of this impressive literary debut, I predict that we’ll be reading Jerald Walker for years to come.”—Robert Atwan, Series Editor, The Best American Essays
“What makes Street Shadows so riveting is that it shows the struggle between good faith and bad faith playing out within a single human heart. The same faithless man who steals an old lady’s groceries then finds the faith to return them. Always this inner wrestling, which also resonates on the level of race. Mr. Walker’s struggle for faith is also the struggle of the black inner city he depicts. And there are no excuses in this brave book. It is a watershed—perhaps “post-racial”—memoir because it lets us see a black man as Everyman, a man on his way in the world and uninterested in the consolations of blame.”—Shelby Steele, author of The Content of Our Character
“This is a subtle piece of work, hard to capture in a few words, a pleasure. It is an experiment in finding the point of equilibrium where the self can emerge as the dispassionate and compassionate interpreter of experience. Walker never fails to be honest where truth is needed and he never fails to be gracious where generosity is possible.”—Marilynne Robinson, author of Gilead and Home
“Street Shadows is a powerful memoir narrated through colorful and moving stories. The movement of the memoir traces the narrator’s life through delinquency, drug use, family tensions and family tragedies and adds real emotional muscle to the voice.—James Alan McPherson, author of Elbow Room
From the Hardcover edition.