1989. Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. An Italian mob murders a black teenager named Yusuf Hawkins. That same night, across the Hudson River in New Jersey, Lisa and Marc meet at a party. Lisa’s black. Marc’s Italian. They eventually hook up. But interpersonal conflict, racist family and friends, and previous relationships loom. Their lives also play out in the charged political context of New York City’s mayoral race, which pits David Dinkins, African-American Democrat, against Rudolph Giuliani, law-and-order Republican. Back to Life is a heady mix of taboo relationships, racial politics, and social commentary that begs the question: Can love really conquer all?