The couch where the family sat and watched movies. The dresser where many clothes were once folded, and the kitchen table where laughs and memories were shared. They are now a mound on the sidewalk, like a pile of logs sitting in a fireplace.

This is a realistic slice of the eviction process; it’s more than just having furniture tossed out on the street.

“Rent eats first,” said a Harvard University associate professor of social sciences, Matthew Desmond in a phone interview when describing his upcoming and raw book “Evicted.” Desmond will be reading sections of his recently published book Wednesday at Literati.

The book follows eight unique families: two single mothers (Arleen, Vanetta) an 18 year-old (Crystal), a disabled, single father (Lamar), a small family with a newborn (Doreen), a drug-addicted nurse (Scott), a grandmother (Lorraine) and a couple (Pam and Ned). Desmond discovers their struggle of facing eviction in the impoverished areas of Milwaukee. However, he dives into more than just the perspective of the families: he also peers into the viewpoints of the landlords, who make the ultimate decision whether or not an eviction occurs. Their behavior ranges from empathetic to utterly ruthless. These juxtaposed vantage points come across as shocking and harsh to the reader.

Desmond said a desire to learn more about the issue was his main inspiration for the book. “America is a mess,” Desmond answered. “I wanted to understand it more, so I felt that eviction was a good frame to study. It allowed me to get new insights.”

“Evicted” also has an authentic and rigid feel to it­ — Desmond himself lived beside these families and unraveled the cutthroat truth about not only poverty, but eviction specifically.

“The hardest part was seeing this level of suffering in our city,” he said. “[Eviction] is not just a condition of poverty. It’s a cause of it. It’s making things worse.” Poverty seems to go untouched, meanwhile eviction seems to go completely unnoticed.

The New York Times said it was “an exhaustively researched, vividly realized and above all, unignorable book — after “Evicted,” it will no longer be possible to have a serious discussion about poverty without having a serious discussion about housing.”

Desmond explained that most of these families were choosing whether to stock the fridge or pay the rent. It’s an issue that hasn’t been brought to the surface, but clearly needs to be, he said.

“There is a massive amount of suffering in this rich land, and there are hundreds and thousands of questions that remain unanswered about poverty and inequality in America,” he added.

He finished the interview with some advice to wannabe writers, journalists, social scientists, or really anybody who wants to make a difference: “They cannot be afraid to give a little bit of their life to it.” In other words, it will take extreme devotion and an eagerness to act in order to amend these issues in this country. “Evicted” vicariously exposes the reality of eviction and the importance of handling this hidden problem soon, before it is too late. 

Correction appended: A previous version of this article misstated Desmond’s first name in the headline. His first name is Matthew, not William.

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