A triumphant story. . . .Bed-Stuy is Burning, with its diverse voices and sincere depiction of the fight for social equality, is a mighty fine debut from a writer to watch.
Brian Platzer’s first novel captures a violent day in the uneasy life of a gentrifying Brooklyn neighborhood where the fragility of love, parenthood, class and race is put to the test. A bad day in Bed-Stuy is a vivid microcosm of the United States, but the hope Platzer suggests with his characters’ healthy unmasking offers optimism for the whole country’s days ahead.
Platzer, a writer and educator who lives in Bed-Stuy, is aiming high here, addressing race-related violence, the Black Lives Matter movement, gentrification, and other volatile topics. He succeeds in presenting multiple perspectives of dramatic yet familiar situations.
[A] dramatic first novel… the prose is energetic, and Platzer is obviously committed to exploring these contemporary urban issues.
Platzer clearly knows his turf. A Bed-Stuy resident himself, he convincingly sketches out how thin the neighborhood’s peaceful veneer is.
Platzer writes insight-fully about political issues while providing a panoramic take on New York that embraces the city’s enormous complexity. This deeply moral book avoids easy conclusions and courts that ambiguity that is the hallmark of all great fiction.
Brian Platzer has written a thrilling debut novel about marriage, gentrification, parenthood, race, and the dangerous bargains we make with ourselves. At once a heart-stopping portrayal of a day of violence and a deeply realized portrait of the five people at its center, Bed-Stuy is Burning marks the arrival of a tremendously accomplished young writer. I can’t wait to see what he does next.
“Thirty years ago Tom Wolfe tackled New York excess with The Bonfire of the Vanities, and now Brian Platzer strikes his own match with Bed-Stuy Is Burning, the results just as timely and bright. Instead of Manhattan in the Eighties, Platzer turns his sharp eye onto present day Brooklyn: the simmering tensions of race and privilege, of cultural appropriation and identity politics, and of course real estate. The story gives voice to multiple characters in search of their American home – even police commissioner William Bratton has a supporting role – and Platzer has the confident novelistic chops to find the beating heart of humanity in everyone’s struggle and striving. Bed-Stuy Is Burning is a wonderful debut. I look forward to whatever Brian Platzer might light up next.
If you’re looking for the novel everyone will be talking about. . .Bed-Stuy Is Burning by Brian Platzer.
An engaging, provocative read [with] a brilliant false ending that complicates the story’s outcome…The unexpected second ending brings a sense of balance to the book, concluding Bed-Stuy Is Burning with fitting ambiguity.