American Histories

John Edgar Wideman. Scribner, $26 (192p) ISBN 978-1-5011-7834-4
Wideman, a finalist for the National Book Award for Fatheralong, boldly subverts notions of what a short story can be in this wonderful collection. In “Williamsburg Bridge” a man plans his suicide from the bridge while considering the lives and deaths of others below him, as well as what has brought him to this point. “Writing Teacher” explores the obligations and feelings of a black professor toward his white fiction writing student after she submits a story about the plights of a young black woman. “JB & FD” imagines a conversation over many years between John Brown and Frederick Douglass; “Nat Turner Confesses” brings the young Nat to life as a boy determined to change his fate. In “Yellow Sea,” a man watches the films Precious and The Yellow Sea and analyzes the characters and their brutal struggles on screen and brings them into his own world, offering advice and empathy. Each story feels new, challenging, and exhilarating, beguilingly combining American history with personal history. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/29/2018
Release date: 03/20/2018
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-1-5011-7835-1
Library Binding - 305 pages - 978-1-4328-6315-9
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