cover image Give My Love to the Savages

Give My Love to the Savages

Chris Stuck. Amistad, $25.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-06-302997-2

Stuck puts an inventive spin on Black satire in his engaging debut collection. In “Every Time They Call You Nigger,” a Black man traces moments from kindergarten to adulthood when he is called the n-word, ruminating on how the word changes meaning as he gets older. In “Lake No Negro,” a young Black man is invited into a polyamorous relationship by an older white couple and realizes the woman has a race fetish. “The Life and Loves of Melvin J. Plump, Esq.” explores the intersection of race and identity as the narrator, a Black Republican, struggles to come to terms with a skin disease that’s turning him white, and “How to Be a Dick in the Twenty-First Century” takes a Philip Roth–style dive through a man’s metamorphosis into a penis. The blistering title story considers the contradictions of being biracial in its account of a young man visiting his racist white father in Los Angeles during the 1992 riots, only to come to terms with his own privilege. Stuck brings uncompromising humor and judicious characterizations, offering piercing insights on the complexity of his characters’ experiences. The author’s perfect balance of absurdism and realism makes these stories shine. Agent: Dan Mandel, Sanford J. Greenburger Assoc. (July)