Starred Review. There hasn't been an anthology of such talented African-American literary figures since Marita Golden's Gumbo, and the result is a masterful bouquet of literary flowers, some grand, some subtle, but none shrinking. Striking among the collection is Cell One, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's (Half of a Yellow Sun) cautionary tale of what happens when success and ambition outpace discipline and firm-handedness in child-rearing in Nigeria. The son of a professor and his accommodating wife, Nnamabia is titillated by thug life, and it isn't until he's arrested and observes the blatant disrespect toward a sick elder that he remembers the good sense his parents instilled long ago. In This Kind of Red, Helen Lee (Water Marked) tells of a battered woman who copes by counting everything from crayons to the minutes she has to kill her abusive husband. Mat Johnson (Drop) offers an excerpt from The Great Negro Plot, his novel infused with the history of slavery and indentured servitude in colonial New York. With something for every reader's taste, this is a collection not to be missed. (Jan.)
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This inaugural collection of fiction brings together authors across the rich and varied African diaspora experience. Organized into short stories, novel excerpts, and young adult fiction, the collection offers a range of styles, textures, and settings. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s story is set in Nigeria, where American gangster-rap culture is permeating and “guns and tortured loyalties became common.” The U.S. and the Caribbean are the settings for Tiphanie Yanique’s story of intergenerational and mixed-race tensions between two families. The collection includes an excerpt from Mat Johnson’s historical novel set in eighteenth-century New York and an excerpt from Junot Díaz’s novel set in a contemporary urban ghetto. Also included are works by young adult authors Jacqueline Woodson and Walter Dean Myers. Not meant to be a definitive “quasi-Norton edition,” this engaging collection still shows the incredible range of talent and focus of fiction written by African Americans. --Vanessa Bush --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.See all Editorial Reviews