Writers like Teju Cole, Zadie Smith, Dave Eggers, and Junot Diaz also decorate the pages of Tales of Two Cities, not to mention Molly Crabapple’s illustrations. So many of their stories — stories about seeking basic dignity against such wealth inequality — are also found in cities throughout the world. (Indeed, Freeman describes the rent increases in New York City as “catastrophic,” which is the precise drumbeat in San Francisco today.) As a writer based in San Francisco and a lover of New York, I found that many of the themes of Tales of Two Cities resonate. Above all else, the anthology, full of pieces varied in tone and deeply personal perspectives, helps convey the reality of today’s economic inequality in ways that an academic tome simply can’t.

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