扫地出门 | Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

    扫地出门 | Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

    In this brilliant, heartbreaking book, Matthew Desmond takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge. Arleen is a single mother trying to raise her two sons on the $20 a month she has left after paying for their rundown apartment. Scott is a gentle nurse consumed by a heroin addiction. Lamar, a man with no legs and a neighborhood full of boys to look after, tries to work his way out of debt. Vanetta participates in a botched stickup after her hours are cut. All are spending almost everything they have on rent, and all have fallen behind.

    The fates of these families are in the hands of two landlords: Sherrena Tarver, a former schoolteacher turned inner-city entrepreneur, and Tobin Charney, who runs one of the worst trailer parks in Milwaukee. They loathe some of their tenants and are fond of others, but as Sherrena puts it, “Love don’t pay the bills.” She moves to evict Arleen and her boys a few days before Christmas.

    Even in the most desolate areas of American cities, evictions used to be rare. But today, most poor renting families are spending more than half of their income on housing, and eviction has become ordinary, especially for single mothers. In vivid, intimate prose, Desmond provides a ground-level view of one of the most urgent issues facing America today. As we see families forced into shelters, squalid apartments, or more dangerous neighborhoods, we bear witness to the human cost of America’s vast inequality—and to people’s determination and intelligence in the face of hardship.

    Based on years of embedded fieldwork and painstakingly gathered data, this masterful book transforms our understanding of extreme poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving a devastating, uniquely American problem. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible.

    《扫地出门:美国城市的贫穷与暴利》聚焦美国愈演愈烈的住房问题——房价持续上涨、生活成本不断上升,收入却停滞不前、甚至不增反减——马修·德斯蒙德决意深入贫困社区,一探问题的核心。

    2008年5月,德斯蒙德住进了密尔沃基南部的一个拖车营。同年9月,他搬至北部旧城区的一处出租房。当时还是社会学专业研究生的德斯蒙德笔耕不辍,记录濒临被驱逐群体的日常生活:他们与蛇虫鼠蚁比邻,家中的水槽长年堵塞,暖气电力说停就停。房客们使尽浑身解数、把绝大部分收入用于交租,却依旧阻止不了跌至绝境的命运。

    在这本精彩却令人心碎的作品中,德斯蒙德带领读者走访了密尔沃基的贫困社区,娓娓道来八个在绝境边缘的美国家庭的故事:阿琳是一位单身妈妈,在为一间破败公寓缴纳房租后,每个月只剩二十美元养活自己和两个儿子。拉马尔是个失去双腿的残疾人,肩负照顾整个社区的男孩的任务同时,还要替房东打工偿还债务。司科特则是一名心地善良的男护士,药物成瘾让他丢了工作,也失去了栖身之所……

    读者将直面贫穷带来的流离失所,见证匮乏者拒绝屈从的优雅身影。这是一本关于贫穷和驱逐的启蒙之书,也是一部呼吁行动与改变的作品。

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