cover image Broken Fevers

Broken Fevers

Tenea D. Johnson. Rosarium, $12.95 trade paper (104p) ISBN 978-1-73263-885-3

The 14 hard-hitting, memorable short stories and prose vignettes in this powerhouse collection from Johnson (Blueprints for Better Worlds) are astounding in their originality. Johnson’s versatile style ranges from lyrical to scientific as she delves into interpersonal, political, and racial dynamics. In “Bare,” a woman attends her girlfriend’s first night working at an unusual strip club. The folkloric “Lopsided World” sees a being named Songo, who had been helping to hold up the world, dropping his end of the burden and explores the aftermath of this decision. In the suspenseful “The Taken,” adult children of senators are abducted by a pro-reparations group called New Dawn. And the unforgettable “Deep Night” tells the story of a girl named Evangeline whose grandmother, Mama Luella, dies before Evangeline’s high school graduation, leaving Evangeline to sort through her memories of tension and conflict between the women in her family. Intelligent, visceral, and gorgeously written, Johnson’s work deserves a wide readership. (Mar.)