The good neighbors don’t like the new people who move in on the block.
(from The O. Henry Prize Stories 2008)
Grace Bennington appeared to be the matriarch; she might have been fifty, but, with her broad weight and her gray hair, it was difficult for anyone to be certain. On a good day, her Eighth Street neighbors might have said forty or forty-five, but on a bad day seventy-five would not have seemed unfair. Only one thing was certain–she had known hard work, and it showed in face and body.
This is as interesting and complicated a study of race and class as you will find in fiction that isn’t boring. That Jones is slow to introduce race is very telling; it’s a sort of psych experiment on the reader. Well, what race did you think these people were? What about the other people? Why did you think that? It’s complicated, as it should be. Beautiful, too.
For some reason you can read this story on a blog.