Sidewalk Dancing is an elegant, nuanced exploration of a diverse family’s dynamics, skillfully told with the subtle wrist bends and brush strokes of a perpetual outsider. Multiple narratives told in stories by a gifted multi-ethnic artist create a beautifully crooked mosaic.
Miranda McGee, the daughter of shy, pragmatic Grace Chao and globetrotting dreamer George McGee, feels like a social pariah. She is a factory original, not bound to one land, nor one people. Miranda knows she doesn’t entirely belong anywhere.
She doesn’t understand how her parents ever married, how they picked up and moved to Oahu. How, despite their cultural differences, they could start a new life, build a house, raise a child, and run a popular local diner.
Miranda may feel like an outcast in Hawaii and New York, but it is her sense of alienation from her family and her own identity that makes her realize that some people feel like outsiders no matter where they are, and this alone may be the one thing her family members have in common.
Roxane Gay says, “Letitia is a great writer, one of those people you think, ‘Why don’t I know more about her?’… I love how her stories really build and build and draw you further into the worlds she creates” while The Missouri Review writes “Moffitt’s power lies in her ability to weave together two generations by telling the stories of first one and then the other and allowing the reader to see the connections between them. Ultimately, these ties unravel, and the generations become separate, the younger finally, painfully, severing itself from the older generation as we watch, as we are unable and unwilling to look away.”