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Best African American fiction 2009
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From the Introduction "Over the course of American literary history African Americans tried many times to read, write, and publish their own books as a sign of cultural independence and racial entrepreneurism. In the end, the act of wiring black fiction was both quixotic and heroic. It served black and white readers alike by reminding them that black people wanted to write fiction, for its own sake and because it might empower the race. And it served the nation by reminding everyone that the creation of black literature was an act of freedom. For every new possibility that blacks fulfilled, such as the utterly preposterous one of becoming fiction writers, further possibilities opened for everyone else. The effort required, however, was daunting.Not until after the Civil War would African American writers become sufficiently practiced in the craft of fiction writing to produce more than one novel or enough short stories to be collected in a volume. But those early writers, unpracticed and frequently unoriginal as they may have been, did much to establish a tradition of black literature. While these literary ancestors did not directly influence black writers who came later, one can appreciate them for a variety of reasons, even just for persevering to get what was in their heads on paper, at a time when society was organized to ensure that they had nothing in their heads and no way of putting anything on paper. For later generations, filiopiety has limits but also satisfies certain necessities of the mind and heart. As the bassist Charles Mingus once put it so succinctly, "Thank god I've got roots!" My hope for the Best African American Fiction series is that it will show how far African American fiction has come and, more important, how far it extends." ~Gerald Early "Considering the time and place of my Southern upbringing, it ought to come as no surprise that most of the books I encountered were by white authors. The libraries and schools were full of books by no one else. Not for years would I discover James Baldwin's Go Tell It on the Mountain, the first book that truly spoke to me. It depicted a world I closely identified with; more than that, it suggested to me for the first time that I might become a writer, that my life as a young African American boy was story worthy of being written.While I can't claim that reading saved my life, books nevertheless profoundly shaped me. They made my dreams bigger. Being asked to write the introduction for the inaugural volume of Best African American Fiction is therefore a welcome opportunity to me as a reader and an honor to me as an author. It's the perfect chance to get acquainted with some of the best work by the best African American writers being published today. With this volume, whose knockout roster reads like a who's who of contemporary black fiction, it's difficult to know where to begin." ~E. Lynn Harris Excerpted from Best African-American Fiction Volume 1 All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.
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  Library Journal Review

In these first two volumes of a new annual series, Early (English, Washington Univ.) and his guest editors Dickerson (The End of Blackness) and Harris (Just Too Good To Be True) have selected the most outstanding works published in 2007, with a few pieces from 2006. The essay collection offers strong views from a number of luminaries (Walter Mosley, Jamaica Kincaid, and Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama), who speak of friends and family, entertainment and sports, and activism and political thought. The fiction collection includes short stories and novels for both adults and young adults, with an excerpt from a historical novel, a story about domestic violence, a tale set in Nigeria, and more from familiar names like Samuel R. Delany and newcomers like Tiphanie Yanique. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

There hasn't been an anthology of such talented African-American literary figures since Marita Golden's Gumbo, and the result is a masterful bouquet of literary flowers, some grand, some subtle, but none shrinking. Striking among the collection is "Cell One," Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's (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't until he's arrested and observes the blatant disrespect toward a sick elder that he remembers the good sense his parents instilled long ago. In "This Kind of Red," 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's taste, this is a collection not to be missed. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Introducing the first volume in an exciting new annual anthology featuring the year's most outstanding fiction by some of today's finest African American writers. From stories that depict black life in times gone by to those that address contemporary issues, this inaugural volume gathers the very best recent African American fiction. Created during a period of electrifying political dialogue and cultural, social, and economic change that is sure to captivate the imaginations of writers and readers for years to come, these short stories and novel excerpts explore a rich variety of subjects. But most of all, they represent exceptional artistry. Here you'll find work by both established names and up-and-comers, ranging from Edward P. Jones, Walter Dean Myers, and Stephen L. Carter to ZZ Packer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Mat Johnson, and Junot Díaz. They write about subjects as diverse as the complexities of black middle-class life and the challenges of interracial relationships, a modern-day lynching in the South and a young musician's coming-of-age during the Harlem Renaissance. What unites these stories, whether set in suburbia and "the heart of whiteness," in eighteenth-century New York City, or on a Caribbean island that is supposed to be "brown skin paradise," is their creators' passionate engagement with matters of the human heart. Masterful and engaging, this first volume ofBest African American Fictionfeatures stories you'll want to savor, share, and return to again and again. Please click the "Behind the Book" link for contributor's bios.
Table of Contents
introduction    Gerald Early
Series Editor Introduction    E. Lynn Harris
Guest Editor Stories Pita Delicious    ZZ Packer
Albino Crow    Chris
Abani Orb Weaver    Emily Raboteau
The Saving Work    Tiphanie Yanique
Dance for Me    Amina Gautier
Cell One    Chimamanda Ngozi
Adichie In the Blink of God's Eye    Edward P. Jones
This Kind of Red    Helen Elaine
Lee Novel Excerpts Dark Reflections    Samuel R. Delany
The Great Negro Plot    Mat Johnson
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao    Junot
Díaz Man Gone Down    Michael
Thomas Young Adult Fiction Excerpt from Feathers    Jacqueline Woodson
Excerpt from Harlem Summer    Walter Dean Myers
Excerpt from Elijah of Buxton    Christopher Paul Curtis
Excerpt from Up for It: A Tale of the Underground    L.F. Haines
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