"We were speeding past scorched brick walls, gray windows, back porches outlined in sun, roofs, and treetops - the landscape of the El I'd memorized from subway windows over a lifetime of rides" . This image of Chicago from Stuart Dybek's short story Pet Milk found in his collection The Coast of Chicago, provides a glimpse into the interior of the city. Throughout he does this by examining the changing neighborhoods of Chicago, he introduces the reader to the sense of community and the people that define Chicago. Dybek uses the memories of this community to familiarize his readers with the city. From here he delves deeper into the city through the use of music to develop an atmosphere of nostalgia. These fictional elements are made more real through the inclusion of Mayor Daley's urban renewal project and its influence on the city. Finally, a look at how Dybek's life parallels his stories provides insight into his point of view of the city. All these elements add up to make this collection of short stories universal in its appeal because it allows anyone in a community to understand Chicago. The main themes the book are discussed to show how this collection is a piece of - and helps to define - Chicago literature.