website statistics Heads of the Colored People - PDF Books Online
Hot Best Seller

Heads of the Colored People

Availability: Ready to download

Calling to mind the best works of Paul Beatty and Junot Díaz, this collection of moving, timely, and darkly funny stories examines the concept of black identity in this so-called post-racial era. A stunning new talent in literary fiction, Nafissa Thompson-Spires grapples with black identity and the contemporary middle class in these compelling, boundary-pushing vignettes. Ea Calling to mind the best works of Paul Beatty and Junot Díaz, this collection of moving, timely, and darkly funny stories examines the concept of black identity in this so-called post-racial era. A stunning new talent in literary fiction, Nafissa Thompson-Spires grapples with black identity and the contemporary middle class in these compelling, boundary-pushing vignettes. Each captivating story plunges headfirst into the lives of new, utterly original characters. Some are darkly humorous—from two mothers exchanging snide remarks through notes in their kids’ backpacks, to the young girl contemplating how best to notify her Facebook friends of her impending suicide—while others are devastatingly poignant—a new mother and funeral singer who is driven to madness with grief for the young black boys who have fallen victim to gun violence, or the teen who struggles between her upper middle class upbringing and her desire to fully connect with black culture. Thompson-Spires fearlessly shines a light on the simmering tensions and precariousness of black citizenship. Her stories are exquisitely rendered, satirical, and captivating in turn, engaging in the ongoing conversations about race and identity politics, as well as the vulnerability of the black body. Boldly resisting categorization and easy answers, Nafissa Thompson-Spires is an original and necessary voice in contemporary fiction.


Compare

Calling to mind the best works of Paul Beatty and Junot Díaz, this collection of moving, timely, and darkly funny stories examines the concept of black identity in this so-called post-racial era. A stunning new talent in literary fiction, Nafissa Thompson-Spires grapples with black identity and the contemporary middle class in these compelling, boundary-pushing vignettes. Ea Calling to mind the best works of Paul Beatty and Junot Díaz, this collection of moving, timely, and darkly funny stories examines the concept of black identity in this so-called post-racial era. A stunning new talent in literary fiction, Nafissa Thompson-Spires grapples with black identity and the contemporary middle class in these compelling, boundary-pushing vignettes. Each captivating story plunges headfirst into the lives of new, utterly original characters. Some are darkly humorous—from two mothers exchanging snide remarks through notes in their kids’ backpacks, to the young girl contemplating how best to notify her Facebook friends of her impending suicide—while others are devastatingly poignant—a new mother and funeral singer who is driven to madness with grief for the young black boys who have fallen victim to gun violence, or the teen who struggles between her upper middle class upbringing and her desire to fully connect with black culture. Thompson-Spires fearlessly shines a light on the simmering tensions and precariousness of black citizenship. Her stories are exquisitely rendered, satirical, and captivating in turn, engaging in the ongoing conversations about race and identity politics, as well as the vulnerability of the black body. Boldly resisting categorization and easy answers, Nafissa Thompson-Spires is an original and necessary voice in contemporary fiction.

30 review for Heads of the Colored People

  1. 5 out of 5

    Roxane

    There is a lot going on in this excellent short story collection. Each story examines the black middle class experience. Many of the works border on satire but not because sometimes the absurdity of being black in this world feels unreal even though it is painfully real. Lots of interesting commentary on navigating the digital age and being a person. This book is imaginative, intelligent, witty, and run through with pain. Well worth reading.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    Finally in 2018 I have read a book that knocked my socks off!! Last year I got a hold of Skin Folk, The Refugees, and What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky and I became a huge fan of the well-written short form. This one operates on a whole "notha" level. Thompson-Spires operates in the head. Heads of the Colored People is about what is going on in the heads of the characters. It reminded me of Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? but Thompson-Spires goes much more deeply into the psyche Finally in 2018 I have read a book that knocked my socks off!! Last year I got a hold of Skin Folk, The Refugees, and What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky and I became a huge fan of the well-written short form. This one operates on a whole "notha" level. Thompson-Spires operates in the head. Heads of the Colored People is about what is going on in the heads of the characters. It reminded me of Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? but Thompson-Spires goes much more deeply into the psyche. In fact my first impression was that Thompson-Spires was writing about societal mental illness. After a little time I realized she is writing about people searching for identity. She takes a given situation then goes into the minds of the characters and through that exploration exposes a lot of what I imagine is systemic and cultural neurosis. It really is brilliant and through the neurosis is running commentary on African-American middle class life (there are a couple of stories that don't involve race, though most of them do). Which frankly probably has a whole lot in common with just plain American middle class life, but there is always that ingrained insecurity associated with being an "other" trying to thrive in a world that seems slightly hostile to your existence. And there is this exploration of the dynamics of skin color and female and trying to survive in two or more different worlds. Each story explores some elements of those things with wealth and class structures, skin color politics, othering including disabled, intellect, endometriosis, postpartum depression, mental illness and pop culture. What I've come to realize is that Thompson-Spires is giving us a look into humans and guess what folks; we are all a little bit crazy. (view spoiler)[ Heads of Colored People: Four Fancy Sketches, Two Chalk Outlines, and no Apology - a brilliant opening story. The story is in the heads of two ill-fated young men and a smattering of people who witness their misfortune. The characters are quirky. Riley was a whimsical character who seemed to relish not fitting into a stereotype. Black engineering student into Manga with blond hair and blue eyes. The character that was supposed to be a more stereotypical black man was named Richard Simmons. These two men of course make snap judgments about each other's appearance that cause them to have a minor altercation at a Comic book convention. The police see two black men fighting and shoot, killing them both. This story goes inside the heads of both men and 3 bystanders. It covers quite a lot of ground about prejudices, snap judgments, sense of entitlement, humanity, shallow self-absorption, politics of skin color and race (also a theme throughout many of the stories), cultural racism and police training. Stunning tale, some humor but mostly irony.   The Necessary Changes Have Been Made - a story of a narcissistic, slightly misogynistic English professor and his ongoing battle (in his head) with his office mate and the faculty at his new university. This one stays in the head of one character Randolph and because it is only one point of view, it becomes easier to spot the mental battles that wage in peoples mind. Randolph is a black literature professor who is a bit entitled and has a superiority complex especially with regard to other people of color and women. He also had a medical condition that causes him to despise fluorescent lights. He thinks they are the cause of his migraine headaches. He also gets a new office mate Isabela from the Spanish Department. There are conflicts and the dynamics were comical. The source of the dynamics is unclear because it is all being interpreted through the mind of Randolph. It could be based upon gender, or professional entitlement, or emotional immaturity, or it could be based on race. The underlying story to me seems to be general disappointment in the person that he is. He certainly does impede his own progress. Guilt for his success? Whatever the cause Randolph feels that he is being disrespected and choose some rather immature methods to fight back. Lots of depth in such a short story. Something that each of these stories can attest.   Belles Lettres - Whoa, my goodness how the privileged talented tenth do battle. A bit of a biting satire with plenty of laugh out loud moments. Accomplished, proud, preening and pretentious mothers  wage a rather vicious battle in proxy for their daughters…supposedly. This was a battle of status, and perceived entitlement. These were particularly stinging because these were PHD black women attacking each other's daughters for things like appearance, demeanor, intelligence, hair texture, behaviors knowingly out of context all so superficial and petty. It is also rather alarmingly right in line with upholding the tethers of power in the patriarchy. While these accomplished women jockey for position, they are denigrating each other's daughters in a manner that belittles their appeal to men (too fat, sweaty, dumb, hair texture etc). It sort of points to the cultural need to be dominant or on top. Funny in an immediate sense but when you look at the story from a little distance it's sad what people value and how they live vicariously and viciously through their daughters.  The Body's Defenses Against Itself - Story about how inner turmoil manifests itself in physical health. A continuation of Belles Lettres in a way but much more serious and Fatima (one of the daughters) is 34 years old and in yoga class. She sweats profusely and has abdominal pains. It all takes her back to her childhood and we get her eyed view of Christinia (the other daughter) because a new lady in yoga class resembles her. A meditation and in my mind, genius.   Fatima, The Biloquist: A Transformation Story - story of a girl (Fatima) learning to navigate between two worlds. Fatima is a teenager. She is a mixed girl in a very prestigious and very white school. She meets a young girl (Violet) at the mall that gets her in touch with her black side. This very short story navigates some very large and poignant ground. Fatima meets and begins to date a white guy and doesn't really want the worlds to intersect. Inevitably they do in a way that in my mind was very realistic. Her boyfriend meets Violet and makes an insensitive comment about skin color. Violet knew nothing about him until they met but he knew all about her. The story is extremely well done and says a lot about class and white privilege as well as the struggles of a young girl trying to figure out who she is. The comparisons to a part of "The Hate U Give" are inevitable but Thompson-Spires for me wins that battle.     The Subject of Consumption - Fascinating tale of what appears to be mental illness and it's impacts on the family. Very deep and interesting. Wife/mother's obsession with her family subsisting on fruit and the reality tv show and the issues it created for her young daughter and husband. Again I am in awe with what Thompson-Spires was able to convey in such short form. Here we see mental illness in the mother who seems to have an obsessive disorder and her husband who was fully on board (with the fruitarian lifestyle choice and the reality TV show) until he starts to notice the effects on their daughter. Humorous scenario, not so humorous story. This is one of the stories in which race is nowhere near the subtext.   Suicide, Watch - An ironic tale of a narcissist living in the social media world and the things that we seem to obsess about. This was ironic and irreverent and the ending was...unexpected. One of the best stories in this amazing collection.  Whisper to Scream - A coming of age tale in the internet age. A young girl confused about her self-worth evaluates herself based on comments and likes. A little disturbing but still great. Children are growing up in a culture of social media where they receive validation by likes and comments. What are we allowing to happen to our kids...   Not Today, Marjorie - What happens when someone who is unstable receives mental health but is still a little crazy. Explores the concept of "hurt people, hurt people". Marjorie is under stress due to bad decisions involving her sister's husband. She's been ostracized by her sister, the family etc. Everyone has moved on. Marjorie feels enormous guilt and harbors quite a bit of self-hatred associated with her childhood. She's trying to do good; be worthy. She is in therapy. This is a quiet story in which nothing much happens and most of the view is from Marjorie's head. The ending reinforces the concept of "if I'm not happy, no one is happy". I think everyone has a coworker like this. We may not know the reason, but we know the behavior.  This Todd - so undiagnosed mental illness is a theme in this book. In this story the protagonist has a fetish for handicapped men. The implication is a woman with control issues. The theme of instability and of a person with self-esteem issues looking for someone they can rescue so they can feel better about themselves. This one was so odd that it was comical but also sad.  A Conversation about Bread - two black anthropology students are trying to write an essay about an experience they had that both dictates the person and the region. I have to think on this but I think essentially one Brian was criticizing Eldwin for coming off as too "white" and unintentionally dissing the culture. Brian is a recurring character from the story This Todd. This one is from the male perspective but it is also a recurring theme in that young people are trying to figure out who they are navigating the strange world of class and privilege while black.  Wash Clean the Bones - A rather scary tale of a young, single mother and nurse who has taken to singing at funerals to help ends meet. She worries about how she will keep her son safe as this latest funeral was a young black man shot 13 times. In doing this she has surrounded herself in a sort of culture of death that seems to have sent her into a postpartum depression. (hide spoiler)] Fantastic collection! Thompson-Spires is very smart, very clever and very observant and a gifted. She's also funny in some very dark ways. She goes there, deep in the psyche and she notices those quirks that we all sort of dismiss or gloss over, perhaps even in ourselves (did I just write that?). This one will make you more self-aware if for no other reason just to do a mental self-check to verify, no I'm not like that…am I? I think I will read anything she publishes….immediately. 5 Very Bright Stars Read on kindle.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    These stories have energy- wit - are inventive- disarmingly tender - at times very funny - and they are each utterly engrossing!!! I had a couple of favorites - “Belles Letters”, and “This Todd”, being a couple standouts, but there is not one boring short story in this collection. The title short story, “Heads of the Colored People”, is compelling and leaves a punch as well. If you think this book is dry - and seriously heavy - you’d be wrong. Very entertaining reading. Think contemporary middle c These stories have energy- wit - are inventive- disarmingly tender - at times very funny - and they are each utterly engrossing!!! I had a couple of favorites - “Belles Letters”, and “This Todd”, being a couple standouts, but there is not one boring short story in this collection. The title short story, “Heads of the Colored People”, is compelling and leaves a punch as well. If you think this book is dry - and seriously heavy - you’d be wrong. Very entertaining reading. Think contemporary middle class black identity - dark humor including characters with spitfire personalities. I loved it!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    The title of this book is taken from the 19th-century vignettes entitled, “Heads of the Colored People, Done With a Whitewash Brush” by the African-American physician and abolitionist, James McCune Smith. Smith's sketches centered on ten different people identified by trade - the point being that these people bootstrapped from slavery to working-class through their labor, integrity, and thrift. James McCune Smith Rather than the working class, Nafissa Thompson-Spires focuses her book on the black The title of this book is taken from the 19th-century vignettes entitled, “Heads of the Colored People, Done With a Whitewash Brush” by the African-American physician and abolitionist, James McCune Smith. Smith's sketches centered on ten different people identified by trade - the point being that these people bootstrapped from slavery to working-class through their labor, integrity, and thrift. James McCune Smith Rather than the working class, Nafissa Thompson-Spires focuses her book on the black upper middle class. In an interview, Thompson-Spires noted: "America has had its first black baseball player, its first black astronaut, its first black president, but after the firsts, the world is still full of onlies - like the only black student in a private school...or the only black woman in a yoga class. Because you are sort of a representative of what people see as black, these are additional pressures on top of the standard pressures of being black in a white world." In this collection of stories, Thompson-Spires' characters show us how they deal with those pressures, as well as other aspects of black racial identity. Nafissa Thompson-Spires ***** Some of the tales are connected by a recurring character named Fatima, whom we first meet in a story titled "Belles Lettres." In this tale, Fatima and her classmate Christinia are the only black students in a private elementary school. Hostility sprouts up between the girls and spreads to their mothers - both of whom have doctorates. Thus Dr. Monica Willis, PhD (Fatima's mother) and Dr. Lucinda Johnston PsyD (Christinia's mother) exchange increasingly hostile letters via their children's backpacks. The notes include nasty comments about each other's daughter, including cracks about killing a hamster; breaking a classmate's nose; reading below grade level; having a smelly backpack; being obese (Fatima); etc. This escalates to the women insulting each other directly, with insinuations about sanity and questionable paternity. The letters are below the belt, but hilarious. Later, in "The Body's Defenses Against Itself" we meet Fatima as a adult, when she's one of two black women in a yoga class - the second woman having just joined. Fatima, overweight and sweating heavily from hyperhidrosis, starts to think about Christinia - who used to call her "Fatima Sweatima" and made fun of her for years. Perhaps as a reaction, Fatima now feels competitive with the new black yogi, who's much better at the poses than she is. Finally, in "Fatima, The Biloquist", we go back to Fatima's high school years, when 'she feels ready to become black' after always attending 'white schools' and living in 'white neighborhoods.' Fatima meets Violet, an albino African-American girl, at the mall - and Violet teaches Fatima how to talk and act like people in the hood. The vocabulary lessons are wonderful. For example, black expressions for rating hot men are: Foine Dang Foine Hella Foine Bout it, bout it Hot Diggity Dizam Hot Diggity Dizam Ooh, hurt me, hurt me Phat Ooohweee Fatima starts to date a white boy, Rolf, whom she introduces to her parents but tries to hides from Violet. When Rolf accidently meets Violet, he blurts out, "Even your black friends are white", which seems insensitive, but may be Rolf's attempt at humor. ***** In the titular story, "Heads of the Colored People: Four Fancy Sketches, Two Chalk Outlies, and No Apology", a young black man named Riley - sporting blue contact lenses and gelled blonde hair - is on his way to a comic con convention dressed as a Japanese manga character. Riley brushes off a black artist distributing pamphlets on the street, who takes offense and starts a tussle. The story is lighthearted until the police get involved. ***** "The Necessary Changes Have Been Made" is set in a historically black college with a largely white faculty. A black English professor called Randy is assigned a large office with big windows, which he likes because fluorescent lights give him migraines, and he can leave them off. When a Latina Spanish professor named Isabella becomes Randy's office mate, they clash over the lights. Randy starts to seethe inside, and embarks on a campaign of microaggression by sneakily squashing Isabella's trail mix and eating her yogurt covered raisins. Isabella retaliates by clandestinely pressing her fingers into Randy's sandwich. The situation escalates from there....until it's resolved. I think the story paints a realistic picture of human nature, regardless of color or ethnicity. **** Other stories highlight a variety of characters. - A filmmaker is making a reality show about a fruitarian couple who practice detachment parenting. The subjects have no furniture, but their house stinks from 18 storage tubs of mangos, coconuts, and durians.....all of which attract buzzing fruit flies. The wife has a blog, where she likens breast feeding to baby vampirism and cannibalism. 🍉🥑🍍 The reality show isn't going well because the husband seems to be pulling away from his wife.....and taking his daughter with him. I enjoyed the voyeuristic peek into an 'alternative lifestyle.' ***** - Jilly is obsessed with social media, and continually tracks her likes and comments. She has thousands of Facebook friends and Twitter followers, and analyzes everything she does - eating, drinking alcohol, losing weight, cutting herself, etc. - in terms of how it would look online and how much buzz it would generate. 👗👓🥤 Right now Jilly is considering suicide, and analyzing how various methods (pills, sticking her head in the oven, etc.) would look to her followers. Morbidly funny story that shines a light on living your life in the public eye. ***** - Raina is a teenager who posts ASMR videos, which are meant to induce a feeling of pleasure and relaxation in her viewers. For her productions, Raina creates soothing sounds and tells stories in a whispery voice, but she doesn't show her face. Raina incessantly checks her hits and comments, anxious to build up her subscriber base. 🎵📃📀 The teen loves her hobby but is bothered because her mother disapproves; a boy from school - who sexually harasses her - knows who she is and is sending messages; and her online boyfriend is distancing himself from her. Raina dreams of running away and finding a group of people who would accept her, regardless of her chubby body; unfashionable hair; and wealthy family. A semi-humorous story with an undercurrent of sadness. ***** - Marjorie has a temper problem but has to go to the DMV, which always has big crowds; long lines; and convoluted procedures. Marjorie's been working with a therapist to control her anger, which she feels is un-Christian, but the DMV proves too much for her. (The DMV in a big city could drive anyone nuts.) 🤔🤨😆 ***** - Kim has a fetish for amputees who've lost their legs, and dates one after another.....all of whom she calls 'Todd.' Kim encourages the Todds to use wheelchairs so she can push them around, and maybe skip the line at Disneyland. When the amputees prostheses are off, Kim continually stares at their scars, bruises, skin discoloration, etc. When the men catch on to Kim's obsession they dump her, so she makes a bizarre grand gesture for her current disabled beau. I found this story kind of creepy. 🙁😔😒 ***** - Eldwin is a graduate student who's writing a true story for an assignment. The story is about a boy called Junior who loved 'white people food.' Junior would bring potato bread, croissants, brioche, and bagels to school - to share with his friends. Junior's pals friends loved the potato bread and croissants, but drew the line at brioche. A white girl surreptitiously listens to Eldwin and his friend Brian discuss the story, and Brian accuses Eldwin of writing like a white anthropologist. (I think we're all curious about the trappings of other cultures.) 🍩🍞🎂 ***** - Alma is a nurse who makes extra cash by singing at funerals. Upset by the death of a boy who was shot 13 times - her fifth funeral in two months - Alma thinks about her infant Ralph. Alma worries about letting the baby grow up in a world where so many black boys are killed, and considers drowning him. Sad story that reflects the current state of our society. 😪😞🤕 ***** This is a well-written, thought-provoking collection that addresses black racial identity in America with humor and perception. When asked about her characters, Thompson-Spires noted, "They are all dealing, in some way, with the burdens of both their privilege (as middle-class black people with access or proximity to the privileges of whiteness) and the realization that privilege doesn’t necessarily guarantee happiness. Each of these characters feels unseen, invisible in the traditional racial sense as outlined by Ralph Ellison, but also invisible as people beyond race, reduced to their bodies or their superficial descriptors." As with any collection, I like some stories better than others, my favorites being the funny ones. I'd recommend the book to fans of literary fiction and short stories. You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot....

  5. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    I knew I would enjoy this pretty much from the first page on. Nafissa Thompson-Spires has a wonderful tone and an even better command of her stories. I found the stories uncomfortable and biting and so very very clever. Her characters feel real if often difficult and the situations they find themselves in are frustrating and perfectly rendered. Some stories feature the same people again, which is something I always enjoy. I do like how this gave the stories more depth without them being incomplet I knew I would enjoy this pretty much from the first page on. Nafissa Thompson-Spires has a wonderful tone and an even better command of her stories. I found the stories uncomfortable and biting and so very very clever. Her characters feel real if often difficult and the situations they find themselves in are frustrating and perfectly rendered. Some stories feature the same people again, which is something I always enjoy. I do like how this gave the stories more depth without them being incomplete without the added context – this is something that I assume is difficult to achieve but oh so satisfying when it works. My favourite story is Belle Lettres: told in a series of letters two mothers write to each other about their daughters who hate each other. I made me laugh so very hard while also making me feel sorry for their daughters. I found it clever and mean and funny and so very well-constructed: the escalation was brilliant to observe, from tiny little things such as the signatures to the change in language. Another favourite was Suicide, Watch – again beautiful but very sad. The way Thompson-Spires characterizes Julie, the focus of this story, made me impatient – and broke my heart at the same time. I received an arc of this book courtesy of NetGalley and Vintage Publishing in exchange for an honest review. You can find this review and other thoughts on books on my blog.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Reggie

    I'm ready for a preorder link to Nafissa Thompson-Spires next book! Whenever that will be. https://www.instagram.com/p/BtR5RTfHQbD/ I'm ready for a preorder link to Nafissa Thompson-Spires next book! Whenever that will be. https://www.instagram.com/p/BtR5RTfHQbD/

  7. 5 out of 5

    Gabriella

    I’m pretty sure this book is 4.5-5 stars, but we all know how I like to change my ratings from week to week. :) In just under 200 pages, Heads of the Colored People microscopes the inner workings of some hilarious and troubled black characters. I think my favorite stories are in the middle of the collection, an interconnected set of tales about grating Jack & Jill mothers, and the insecure daughters they produce. These women are self-absorbed, vegan, mundane, vapid, and about ten other traits bl I’m pretty sure this book is 4.5-5 stars, but we all know how I like to change my ratings from week to week. :) In just under 200 pages, Heads of the Colored People microscopes the inner workings of some hilarious and troubled black characters. I think my favorite stories are in the middle of the collection, an interconnected set of tales about grating Jack & Jill mothers, and the insecure daughters they produce. These women are self-absorbed, vegan, mundane, vapid, and about ten other traits black women aren’t supposed to be, and I read about them with a leisure I usually don’t feel able to employ. Another writer would’ve made these stories much more bleak, but Nafissa Thompson-Spires has a personal humor that keeps all of these feeling not too deep, or at least ironic, by their ends. I don’t know about y’all, but my spring news feed has seemed chock full of stories about the dire systemic experiences of black people, so much so that it’s nice to spend some time with an author who sees her subjects as much more than “black bodies” or numbing research statistics. These stories are insular, biting, and compassionate reflections on black life, and just what many of us need to read right now.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Meike

    This debut collection of short stories is fighting the perception of colored people as a monolithic group by showing its black protagonists in a variety of different roles and contexts - as fans of cosplay, as helicopter mums, as stalkers and their victims, as women struggling with body image issues, as bullies and victims of bullying and so on. A key to understanding the author's aim is the story entitled "A Conversation about Bread", in which one of the characters tries to finish an ethnograph This debut collection of short stories is fighting the perception of colored people as a monolithic group by showing its black protagonists in a variety of different roles and contexts - as fans of cosplay, as helicopter mums, as stalkers and their victims, as women struggling with body image issues, as bullies and victims of bullying and so on. A key to understanding the author's aim is the story entitled "A Conversation about Bread", in which one of the characters tries to finish an ethnographical (!) assignment which requires him "to collect an interesting story from another student in the class and decide which details to recount in order to form a profile of both the person and region.". As the conversation with the classmate (who is also black) ensues, there are remarks like: "Didn't every story provide a narrow representation at best and fetishize somebody at worst?", "There's no real way for you to capture the regional differences without getting all stereotypical", and "I'm representing a specific group, this 'we', and I'm not trying to make that we an 'everyone'" - these questions of representation are at the heart of Thompson-Spires' debut. Closely connected to that, the characters in the stories are always confronted with outside expectations regarding what and how they as "black people" are supposed to be - how they are supposed to look and to act, what they are supposed to like and to stand for. How do you defend your unique personality, your intersectional self against the pressue to conform to abstract concepts, assigned by a group or even by outsiders aiming to define (and thus confine) a group? How do you reconcile your own identity with that of a group? How do you defend your group identity against attempts to distort and diminish it? Without a doubt, these are important texts that are also witty and often bitingly funny. Still, I often saw the intent behind the story too clearly, and I guess the fact that I just finished "Friday Black", another short story collection which really blew me away, didn't help either. A worthy contender for the National Book Award, but not on my shortlist - still, I will certainly read Nafissa Thompson-Spires' next effort as well!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    3.5 stars A bold and original short story collection that examines the black middle class experience in ways unseen before in literature. I loved how innovative the premise of each story felt, ranging from two mothers who exchange mean remarks through notes in their children’s backpacks, to a narcissistic young woman contemplating how to craft the perfect Facebook status to alert people of her impending suicide, to a woman with few friends who sees a therapist for the first time and struggles to 3.5 stars A bold and original short story collection that examines the black middle class experience in ways unseen before in literature. I loved how innovative the premise of each story felt, ranging from two mothers who exchange mean remarks through notes in their children’s backpacks, to a narcissistic young woman contemplating how to craft the perfect Facebook status to alert people of her impending suicide, to a woman with few friends who sees a therapist for the first time and struggles to open up and make sense of her anger. While many books that center the black lived experience focus on tragedy with a capital T, Heads of the Colored People captures more of the everyday black experience and the emotions inspired by it, while still addressing issues of race and gender. I appreciated the complexity of the women in this collection in particular, as so often we expect black women to be strong and nurturing and punish them for the less virtuous characteristics almost all of us exhibit at some point or another. Giving this a 3.5 because for some reason I felt distanced from some of the characters and emotions in this collection, almost as if I could appreciate the themes and takeaways on an intellectual level but not on a heart one. The characters sometimes felt more like symbols and ideas and I wanted more emotion. Still, I would recommend Heads of the Colored People to those interested in its synopsis. I’d also recommend my Goodreads friends Gabriella’s review and jo’s review which both speak about this book in a more iconic and knowledgeable way than mine does.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Read By RodKelly

    What an utterly original collection! This may be the best short story collection I've ever read, it spoke directly to me, about things I've never seen represented in literature, as it concerns the lives of Black people in America. What an utterly original collection! This may be the best short story collection I've ever read, it spoke directly to me, about things I've never seen represented in literature, as it concerns the lives of Black people in America.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    National Book Award Longlist 2018. Thompson-Spires has written a startlingly original set of short stories. They are bold, moving and often darkly humorous. Some, like ‘Four Fancy Sketches, Two Chalk Outlines, and No Apology’ speak directly to the black experience—it reflects “the constants—unarmed men, excessive force, another dead body, another dead body”. Other stories like “The Necessary Changes Have Been Made” are more universal. This one is more of an “Office Space” chronicle where Randolph National Book Award Longlist 2018. Thompson-Spires has written a startlingly original set of short stories. They are bold, moving and often darkly humorous. Some, like ‘Four Fancy Sketches, Two Chalk Outlines, and No Apology’ speak directly to the black experience—it reflects “the constants—unarmed men, excessive force, another dead body, another dead body”. Other stories like “The Necessary Changes Have Been Made” are more universal. This one is more of an “Office Space” chronicle where Randolph and Isabella wage a passive aggressive war in the office. There are a few stories about how the protagonist does everything they can to gain attention—whether it is ‘likes’ on their YouTube video creations in a ‘Whisper to a Scream’; or how they pursue a frutarian lifestyle so that they will be the subject of a documentary—‘The Subject of Consumption’. But—the masterpiece is ‘Belle Lettres’ where two highly educated mothers write letters to each other via their children’s backpacks. The level of snarkiness, passive aggression and efforts to one-up each other is positively hysterical. It would make an excellent SNL skit. Recommend.

  12. 4 out of 5

    La Tonya Jordan

    This is a fabulous read. It is humorous, poignant, and worthwhile. The collection of short stories contained the following and more: A story of upper middle class black women with PhD's trading notes through their girls' backpacks on who is more unruly in an all-white prestigious school. Their daughters were the only two black individuals in the entire school. The young adult thinking of suicide and posting on facebook while casually changing her mind in the process. A black woman having a fetis This is a fabulous read. It is humorous, poignant, and worthwhile. The collection of short stories contained the following and more: A story of upper middle class black women with PhD's trading notes through their girls' backpacks on who is more unruly in an all-white prestigious school. Their daughters were the only two black individuals in the entire school. The young adult thinking of suicide and posting on facebook while casually changing her mind in the process. A black woman having a fetish for disabled men of any color. The narrative of what is black enough for a person who was raised in California but now attending a historically black school in the south. Do black people become fruitarians? Or get involved in detachment parenting? As you keep reading the short stories and narratives, you may find that your definition of blackness maybe wrong or incorrect. Quote: The school, he felt, was run almost entirely by women, and Randolph came to understand them as an unholy sisterhood of pseudofeminists, with DIY as their unofficial leader, Carol their henchwoman-in-training, and Isabela their likely successor. It is true that liars who start young often end up with psychological and social problems of the sort that Christinia has demonstrated over the past year. How lucky for you (and for Christinia) that she has access to psychotherapy through your practice. "Anyway, it's not like you're black black," Rolf said.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Andre

    Although my initial reaction to this collection of stories was blasé, upon futher contemplation I went to four stars. The collection is centered on Black identity and the heaping of satire is heavy here and the humor is plentiful. The story Belles Lettres, which has two mothers exchanging notes through their daughters backpacks is side-splitting funny. Be careful reading in public, lest folks think you a little off for laughing loud alone with a book or tablet. That story for me was the highligh Although my initial reaction to this collection of stories was blasé, upon futher contemplation I went to four stars. The collection is centered on Black identity and the heaping of satire is heavy here and the humor is plentiful. The story Belles Lettres, which has two mothers exchanging notes through their daughters backpacks is side-splitting funny. Be careful reading in public, lest folks think you a little off for laughing loud alone with a book or tablet. That story for me was the highlight of the book, and another strong story was, The Necessary Changes Have Been Made dealing with the office politics at an HBCU. Nafissa Thompson-Spires keeps her stories humor filled but avoids silliness. Even the story of a young lady contemplating suicide is infused with humor removing some of the sadness from that story, Suicide,Watch. Nafissa Thompson-Spires has done a good job of looking and laughing at ways of Black expression, ways of identifying and defining Blackness that often know no bounds, or at least the bounds are not always recognizable to all claiming Blackness. In that way, she makes you pause from holding your side and really meditate on what is being read. This is often difficult to achieve in short stories due to the nature of the genre. She seemingly has no fear or worry about ‘going there.‘ Nafissa is announcing her arrival with this book of stories and judging from the boldness and fearlessness of her prose she will be around for quite some time. And that is a very good thing. This book will be available Apr. 10, 2018. Thanks to Netgalley and Atria Books for an advanced ebook.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ify

    While I recognize the author's talent, I had a hard time emotionally connecting & resonating with the characters. I was more in awe of the uniqueness of the stories than engaged with the writing. There were a few stories that I loved, but most felt detached. While I recognize the author's talent, I had a hard time emotionally connecting & resonating with the characters. I was more in awe of the uniqueness of the stories than engaged with the writing. There were a few stories that I loved, but most felt detached.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Sullivan

    Okay, wow. This is a phenomenal collection about people struggling to forge a sense of identity in a modern world. The characters are all black, and so the topic of black identity (and black bodies) is front and center. The subjects are all contemporary, a mix of cutting satire and poignant realism: the two mothers exchanging passive aggressive notes via their daughters, a family of new age fruititarians filming a reality show, a high school girl who records ASMR videos, a narcissistic woman con Okay, wow. This is a phenomenal collection about people struggling to forge a sense of identity in a modern world. The characters are all black, and so the topic of black identity (and black bodies) is front and center. The subjects are all contemporary, a mix of cutting satire and poignant realism: the two mothers exchanging passive aggressive notes via their daughters, a family of new age fruititarians filming a reality show, a high school girl who records ASMR videos, a narcissistic woman contemplating suicide for the Facebook likes, a funeral singer struggling to cope with the number of black bodies lost to gun violence. I’m always thrilled when I pick up a book blurbed by George Saunders. These stories certainly have echoes of Saunders’ and David Foster Wallace’s post-modern fiction, but they never, ever come across as derivative. Thompson-Spires plays around with form and structure in such a sharp way while never losing site of the subjects of each story. I loved this collection to the point of giddiness.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Allison Hurd

    These were interesting and uncomfortable stories about the heads of people of color, specifically Black people. As the author says in her note, this is not just what goes on inside the heads of Black people--mental illness, anger, fear, confusion--but also what Black leadership looks like, and even the sociopolitics of the head itself--wigs or natural? Better seen or unseen? I appreciated the look into the questions, but ultimately felt a bit like a voyeur. CONTENT WARNING: (view spoiler)[ racism These were interesting and uncomfortable stories about the heads of people of color, specifically Black people. As the author says in her note, this is not just what goes on inside the heads of Black people--mental illness, anger, fear, confusion--but also what Black leadership looks like, and even the sociopolitics of the head itself--wigs or natural? Better seen or unseen? I appreciated the look into the questions, but ultimately felt a bit like a voyeur. CONTENT WARNING: (view spoiler)[ racism, graphic imagery, sexual harassment, child abuse, domestic violence, ableism (hide spoiler)] I think that this collection is important, and the telling is sure-footed, honest, and sometimes darkly humorous. But it's a book that asks "what about me? Where do I fit in all of this?" and as the "me" in these books are middle class Black people who are not living the experience of extreme prejudice or "inspirational exceptionalism" that are generally peddled to people who look like me, it felt more like watching a family argument when I am just a guest. I see you, characters, but I have no answers. I can't say I "liked" or "really liked" this book because it's moot. It's not for my feelings. I can't even critique things I loved or didn't love because it isn't a love letter or a reprimand aimed at me--and it is both of those. So, I will say I am glad of the experience, I think this is a great book full of discussion topics for those who are already in a head of a Black person, and well written to boot.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Monica Kim: Reader in Emerald City

    America has had its first black baseball player, its first black astronaut, its first black president — but after the firsts, the world is still full of onlies. Sometimes the only-ness is existential — like the only black student in a private school. Sometimes it's incidental — the only black woman in an hour-long yoga class — because you are sort of a representative of what people see as black, by virtue of them not having had much exposure to it, there are all these additional pressures on top America has had its first black baseball player, its first black astronaut, its first black president — but after the firsts, the world is still full of onlies. Sometimes the only-ness is existential — like the only black student in a private school. Sometimes it's incidental — the only black woman in an hour-long yoga class — because you are sort of a representative of what people see as black, by virtue of them not having had much exposure to it, there are all these additional pressures on top of the standard pressures of being black in a white world. — Nafissa Thompson-Spires . . Nafissa Thompson-Spires’ “Heads of the Colored People” is an exceptional debut novel of short story collection by a brilliant writer. We’re not worthy of her brilliance. It’s not often (almost rare) that every story in a collection is good, this is the rarest of gem in which each & every story is GOOD, and all characters & stories are well-crafted & stood out to me. And it ends beautifully all stories being cohesive. This novel shines with her razor-sharp observations, psychological insights, captivating stories, and interesting characters, it’s bold, moving, timely, and darkly funny. It’s an essential reading for everyone! I’d really love for her to write a single-story novel next. . Before I go on about the book, I want to say something about the author that I’ve picked up from reading. I really, really like her! Yes, I don’t know her well enough as this is her first novel, but to me, her experiences & personality really shined throughout the book. There is no doubt in mind that most, if not, all of these stories are inspired by her own life. I wish I can articulate my thoughts better in writing, but when you read this novel, you’ll know exactly what I mean as I can’t point out all the things that made me believe that. Also, each characters are all so real & authentic with its own unique quirks & personalities, all these nuances that author created, I believe there is parts of author in each characters. If my observations & thoughts are correct, I can tell that the author has a great personality. I feel like I befriended her through these characters. It’s also not often that we get to feel this way about an author, especially with a fiction. Of course, it’s bit more possible because it’s a short story collection. I hope this make sense, went little bit of of tangent there. . Back to the novel. 🤣 In this brilliant short story collection, Nafissa introduces us to wide range of interesting black characters grappling with their identity, class (mostly middle class & educated), and how they fit into the society where they’re often preconceived notions about them or grouped into narrow narrative. Through these characters, author touches on many of the issues that concern the lives of black people from police brutality, racism, onlies, micro-aggressions, and so on. These books gives you a refreshing look inside the identities and lives of black people we don’t typically see represented in novels. . It’s an utterly original, solid collection that entertains as it illuminates. You’ll go through wide range of emotions as you get to know each characters. Each story is thoughtfully written & thought provoking...Just as other short story collection, my only complain is that I was left with wanting more. However, I look forward to her bright future in the literary world!

  18. 4 out of 5

    jo

    it seems to me that thompson-spires does something different here. i saw just today an article about how african american intellectuals (say, baldwin) could have talked (and still could talk) about all sorts of things but ended up invariably talking to white people about racism. which, if you think about it, is a tremendous waste of intellectual power. one can only imagine the wealth of ideas baldwin could have put on paper if he hadn't had to worry about racism (even more ideas! from balwin! sw it seems to me that thompson-spires does something different here. i saw just today an article about how african american intellectuals (say, baldwin) could have talked (and still could talk) about all sorts of things but ended up invariably talking to white people about racism. which, if you think about it, is a tremendous waste of intellectual power. one can only imagine the wealth of ideas baldwin could have put on paper if he hadn't had to worry about racism (even more ideas! from balwin! swoon!).*** this collection, it seems to me, goes beyond "explaining racism to white people" and tackles race more indirectly. the first story is in fact (if i remember correctly, but please tell me if i don't) the only one that is directly about racism. the rest of the stories are quirky, funny, and heartbreaking stories of middle-class unease, with good heapings of psychic pain. there is a terrific story about a woman who is finding very challenging to go to the DMV, and you are not told why until slowly you figure it out. at first you think it's agoraphobia, or maybe fear of crowds, and it is fear of crowds, but for reasons very different from the ones you first expect. by the way, the women in these stories kick ass. it's arguably impossible for a member of such an embattled group as black people in america now not to address racism, but as i said, thompson-spires gives us characters for whom racism is just one problem, often not their primary one. at the same time, is racism ever not the primary problem when one lives in a deeply, violently racist society? i think this is what this collection grapples with, quite brilliantly. *** “Being a black public intellectual has always meant serving two masters, and one of those masters is so needy that the other is hardly tended to... Freed from the need to talk to white people, what might Baldwin have prophesied?”

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ellie

    A powerful collection of short stories. Each story, even the short-short ones, creates a world within the socio-political world in which we live. There are many funny ones and funny moments in the more serious one but almost all carry the seriousness of the times we live in. The first story is perhaps the strongest, with its many layers. I can't describe it without giving away details but there is the "meta" consciousness of the narrator, the quickly sketched yet fully developed characters and th A powerful collection of short stories. Each story, even the short-short ones, creates a world within the socio-political world in which we live. There are many funny ones and funny moments in the more serious one but almost all carry the seriousness of the times we live in. The first story is perhaps the strongest, with its many layers. I can't describe it without giving away details but there is the "meta" consciousness of the narrator, the quickly sketched yet fully developed characters and the contradictory feelings it evokes. The specter of race relations overshadows most of the stories; people living out their lives within a particular socio-political context. Several stories focus intensely on an individual character. There is a very funny (but also quasi serious) character with a fetish for amputees that appears in various ways in several stories. There are people on the brink of self-destruction striving to find ways to keep themselves upright and functional. But although the theme may be dark, the expression of it is not. The endings are often surprising although well-prepared for. These are exceptional stories that anyone who loves fiction should give themselves the pleasure of reading.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jerrie (redwritinghood)

    From the NBA longlist - a look at black identity in America, especially the black middle class. Many of the stories look at people who don’t fit into the standard black identity - they like manga, have a white SO, talk differently - and how they are often judged by others in the black community. Many of these stories are quite funny, but they have serious undertones about contemporary issues, such as the frequent killings of unarmed black men.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Katie Long

    Another solid choice from the National Book Award long list. A collection of short stories that examines middle class Black American lives. Thompson-Spires shows a wickedly dark sense of humor in many of these stories and an aching poignancy in others. The last story, especially, shattered me.

  22. 4 out of 5

    BookOfCinz

    Utterly addictive I kept seeing The Heads of the Colored People on my bookstagram timeline, to the point where I felt like it was haunting me. I finally decided to give this book a read and man.... I am so happy I did. I devoured this book. If I had to describe this book in one word it would be addictive. When I wasn't reading the book, I was thinking about reading the book. This might just be one of my favorite collection of short stories for this year. Every story is unique, captivating, dar Utterly addictive I kept seeing The Heads of the Colored People on my bookstagram timeline, to the point where I felt like it was haunting me. I finally decided to give this book a read and man.... I am so happy I did. I devoured this book. If I had to describe this book in one word it would be addictive. When I wasn't reading the book, I was thinking about reading the book. This might just be one of my favorite collection of short stories for this year. Every story is unique, captivating, dark and hilarious. I found myself laughing out loud at some of the scenarios the characters found themselves in. Nafissa shows us how great writer she is by conveying so much in just 5-10 pages. One of my favorite reads for 2018.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Traci at The Stacks

    I liked this book. Short stories about black folks. Funny at times. Thought provoking at times. A place for blackness without having to do with extreme poverty, violence, trauma. Solid debut.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lata

    Well-written short stories, with razor-sharp pictures of middle-class expectations intersecting with race, family, friendships, employment, and police. The analyses are in some cases bitingly funny with deeply sad or somewhat disturbing undercurrents. My favourite stories were: -Heads of the Colored People: Four Fancy Sketches, Two Chalk Outlines, and No Apology -Belle Lettres -Fatima, The Biloquist: A Transformation Story -The Subject of Consumption -Suicide, Watch -Wash Clean the Bones I listened to Well-written short stories, with razor-sharp pictures of middle-class expectations intersecting with race, family, friendships, employment, and police. The analyses are in some cases bitingly funny with deeply sad or somewhat disturbing undercurrents. My favourite stories were: -Heads of the Colored People: Four Fancy Sketches, Two Chalk Outlines, and No Apology -Belle Lettres -Fatima, The Biloquist: A Transformation Story -The Subject of Consumption -Suicide, Watch -Wash Clean the Bones I listened to this book and liked Adenrele Ojo’s interpretations.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Paris (parisperusing)

    4.5 thoughts to come

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kimberley

    There are books that leave me wondering “what the heck did I just read?” Heads of the Colored People is most certainly that type of book. It’s a collection of short stories centering on the black experience, as it relates to the individual, with environmental and social factors acting as the intrusion, as opposed to the catalyst, to their overall well-being. I finished it, with mixed emotions, and then almost gave it a much lower rating. However, after thinking on it a bit, and really digesting t There are books that leave me wondering “what the heck did I just read?” Heads of the Colored People is most certainly that type of book. It’s a collection of short stories centering on the black experience, as it relates to the individual, with environmental and social factors acting as the intrusion, as opposed to the catalyst, to their overall well-being. I finished it, with mixed emotions, and then almost gave it a much lower rating. However, after thinking on it a bit, and really digesting the themes behind each story, I saw this collection for the brilliance it truly is. For example, Belles Lettres reads like a Master’s class in being outrageously petty. In it, two moms try to socially assassinate each other, via letters passed through their respective daughter’s book bags, because of what was likely a misunderstanding. However, on a deeper level, you have two well-educated black women, trying their best not to have their respective daughters stand out negatively, in a predominately “white space”. It’s a decision that ultimately leads to one of the girls having lifelong social and emotional struggles—which we find out via another short story—and further highlights how difficult it is to be the “only one”. The story about Raina—a YouTuber—seems like one about a girl with a need for attention. However, she’s had a traumatic experience, unbeknownst to those around her, and doesn’t feel comfortable telling anyone. Yet, she finds a degree of solace in helping others, through the videos she creates. Then there’s the funeral singer, Alma. She is so distraught over the senseless deaths, of so many young black boys, she wonders if she wouldn’t be better off saving her son the trouble of growing up at all. Each story offers something to ponder. Each has countless layers. It’s social commentary, wrapped heavily in satire, with a lot of meat to gnaw on for later. A worthy read, but one you need to be prepared for when/if you decide to pick it up.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Abbie | ab_reads

    You know when you read a short story collection on the recommendation of Tasnim @reads.and.reveries, the short story queen, that it's going to be a good one! I waited patiently for my library to reopen to get this collection out, and it was more than worth the wait. I read an article with Nafissa Thompson-Spires where she said that she wanted to write more stories about nerdy Black people - she does that and more with this collection. These 12 stories feature a myriad of Black folk, from exhaust You know when you read a short story collection on the recommendation of Tasnim @reads.and.reveries, the short story queen, that it's going to be a good one! I waited patiently for my library to reopen to get this collection out, and it was more than worth the wait. I read an article with Nafissa Thompson-Spires where she said that she wanted to write more stories about nerdy Black people - she does that and more with this collection. These 12 stories feature a myriad of Black folk, from exhausted nurses moonlighting as funeral singers to ASMR content creators on Youtube. I loved the breadth of Thompson-Spires characters, reminding anyone who needs it that Black people are not a monolith. . It's such a solid collection, plus there are even a few familiar faces popping up in different stories! You know how much I appreciate a good interlocking short story collection. In fact, the three stories which all feature Fatima were some of my favourites, including Belles Lettres which I'd heard so much about! This is a hilarious exchange between two mothers, sending ever more vicious notes back and forth via their children who go to school together. Fatima is one of these children, and we get to see her growing up a little too, including her struggles with not feeling 'Black enough' at her mostly white high school. . Other standouts for me included Suicide, Watch, where a young woman's need for validation on social media takes a sinister turn and Whisper to a Scream, the young ASMR content creator just trying to find her niche in the world. I don't think there were any stories I didn't enjoy to some extent, and Thompson-Spires covers such a broad range of themes that there's surely something to suit everybody's tastes here! . She really shows off the scope of her writing too. We have a mix of third and first person throughout the collection, and she excels with both, getting right inside the heads of the narrators. I also loved her use of dark humour throughout, stories like Belles Lettres have you cackling and then the next story would make your blood run cold. . In short, I just don't think you can go wrong with picking up this collection!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    Centering around the foibles, pretentions and microagressions of Black middle class people, this collection of 12 stories was one knockout after another. These people and their stories are largely-but not always--set right on the border between funny/scathing social critique and true damage. On the funnier side, we have battling PhD moms of the only two black girls in a private school class, fought through increasingly gloves-off notes put in the children's backpacks; the professor embroiled in Centering around the foibles, pretentions and microagressions of Black middle class people, this collection of 12 stories was one knockout after another. These people and their stories are largely-but not always--set right on the border between funny/scathing social critique and true damage. On the funnier side, we have battling PhD moms of the only two black girls in a private school class, fought through increasingly gloves-off notes put in the children's backpacks; the professor embroiled in a petty battle for lights on/ lights off with his his officemate; the self-righteous church woman struggling with anger management (unsuccessfully). Then there are the darker stories: the a black cos-play fan shot by police in front of Comic-con; a girl who makes ASMR videos as she is harassed by fellow high school students; the reality show highlighting a disturbing woman selling a 'fruitarian' lifestyle, as we also follow her husband, late to the taping, taking their child to Target... and McDonalds; a private school black girl 'learning to be black' from a girl she meets in a mall. The collection is one brilliant, socially up-to-the-moment, often pop-culture-inflected story after another. Thompson-Spires has been compared with a lot of people but Nabokov was the one that kept coming to my mind--Nabokov and his unreliable, self-deluding narrators. The power of these stories lie in their endings. I have never seen such effective and utterly unexpected endings to short stories, and here there's one after another. They are simply marvels of the storytelling art. She spins, not on a dime, but on a dime's edge, whether its popping out of the framework you've bought into and doing something completely different, or taking it in an absolutely surprising direction. Anybody who loves short stories will admire them, and anyone interested in writing them should read them again and again.

  29. 4 out of 5

    S.

    A couple of the stories fell flat but I hadn't seen such a sharp dissection of black people in academia before. Thompson-Spires writing has a wicked humor but tenderness for all of her characters, which she builds by showing us the characters over a long period of time. Belles Lettres had me *dying.* A really powerful collection that explores what's really in our "heads"—what demons, ghosts, hopes, failure, and loves reside there. A couple of the stories fell flat but I hadn't seen such a sharp dissection of black people in academia before. Thompson-Spires writing has a wicked humor but tenderness for all of her characters, which she builds by showing us the characters over a long period of time. Belles Lettres had me *dying.* A really powerful collection that explores what's really in our "heads"—what demons, ghosts, hopes, failure, and loves reside there.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nicky

    I have read these stories over the last few days and honestly I’m struggling to remember more than a general outline of most of them. The author does have a great dark sense of humour - “Suicide, Watch” was the most memorable because of this.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.