50 pages 1 hour read

N. K. Jemisin

The City We Became

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2020

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Chapter 14-CodaChapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 14 Summary: “The Gauntlet of Second Avenue”

While Bronca drives to Staten Island, she confronts Brooklyn over some of her past incendiary rap lyrics. Brooklyn contends that that was her old self, and she’s atoned for it. Bronca’s phone suddenly alerts them to a stoppage on the FDR; the news reports a protest by the “Proud Men,” a right-wing extremist group. Hong suspects the march is a strategy by the Enemy to derail their plans. They detour down Second Avenue, swerving to avoid the furious tendrils that have sprouted up over every Starbucks. They reach the Lower East Side, and, driving past the now-collapsed Williamsburg Bridge, they see with horror that the East River is teeming with the tendrils. They cross the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge into Staten Island, trying to sense the location of its avatar, ultimately finding their way into a suburban enclave. They stop at the house with the translucent, white tower growing from the front yard. As they approach the house, the Woman in White steps out of the mass of tendrils accompanied by a host of spindly, shadowy things lurking in the bushes. The sight disturbs Hong, who is deeply unsettled by the Enemy’s new form, a speaking, human avatar. Suddenly, they are all pulled into “cityspace” where they see another city—an unfamiliar one—looming up before them, all curved white towers, tidy wooded parks, and immaculate streets.

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