cover image Best African American Fiction

Best African American Fiction

. Bantam, $16 (336pp) ISBN 978-0-553-38534-2

There hasn\x92t been an anthology of such talented African-American literary figures since Marita Golden\x92s Gumbo, and the result is a masterful bouquet of literary flowers, some grand, some subtle, but none shrinking. Striking among the collection is \x93Cell One,\x94 Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie\x92s (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\x92t until he\x92s arrested and observes the blatant disrespect toward a sick elder that he remembers the good sense his parents instilled long ago. In \x93This Kind of Red,\x94 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\x92s taste, this is a collection not to be missed. (Jan.)