cover image The Office of Historical Corrections

The Office of Historical Corrections

Danielle Evans. Riverhead, $27 (288p) ISBN 978-1-59448-733-0

Evans (Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self) brings her usual wit and keen eye to her latest collection, which offers seven stories that explore the complexity of human emotions and relationships. While every story offers a discrete narrative, recurring themes of pain, loss, fear, and failed relationships give the collection a sense of unity. The title novella is the crowning jewel, a historical mystery centered around a Black historian whose job in Washington, D.C., is complicated when she is sent on a dangerous assignment to the site of a 1937 lynching in Wisconsin. The rest of the stories, however, are hit-or-miss. “Why Won’t Women Just Say What They Want” is a witty exploration of a male artist’s love life and his bizarre project of apologizing to the women he hurt. “Alcatraz” is a sad, touching story that explores how an unjust incarceration destroys a family. However, “Boys Go to Jupiter,” in which a white college student deals with “collective anger” after a photo of her in a Confederate-flag bikini goes viral, fails to say anything of note about race or racism. Despite its shortcomings, this is a timely, entertaining collection from a talented writer who isn’t afraid to take chances. (Nov.)