Ancestral House: The Black Short Story in the Americas and Europe

Overview

Ancestral House is the only short story anthology in existence that acknowledges the richness & diversity of writers from the African Diaspora. The 70 uncut stories in this collection comprise 36 writers from the U.S. & 34 writers from Europe & the Americas. Introduces new talent, showcases established artists, & features retrospective analysis & celebration of major figures. Contains a striking variety of styles, themes, settings, & subjects. Im so happy that Rowell has put his very fine ...
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Overview

Ancestral House is the only short story anthology in existence that acknowledges the richness & diversity of writers from the African Diaspora. The 70 uncut stories in this collection comprise 36 writers from the U.S. & 34 writers from Europe & the Americas. Introduces new talent, showcases established artists, & features retrospective analysis & celebration of major figures. Contains a striking variety of styles, themes, settings, & subjects. Im so happy that Rowell has put his very fine sense of literary necessity to use in Ancestral House. He has created a fine home for us all. Nikki Giovanni

This is the only short story anthology to acknowledge the diversity of writers from the African Diaspora. The collection is comprehensive, laying open the fascinating tradition of Black life throughout the U.S., the Americas, and Europe. The very definition of "Black Diaspora" is embodied here with 36 English-speaking writers, and 34 writers translated into English.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The individual stories in this encyclopedic collection are all good, but the aggregate of 70 of them, arranged simply in alphabetical order by author's name, is unwieldy. Rowell, editor of the magazine Callaloo, has excellent taste in literature, but he might have given more of a context than just noting each author's country of origin/residence. Many stories center on disillusion. Tina McElroy Ansa chronicles the disintegration of a marriage, while Trinidad-born Dionne Brand's narrator, who once loved the Dallas Cowboys, learns to hate them when her country is invaded by North American forces. Many of these narrators are sharp, almost neutral observers: John Holman's protagonist listens passively as a man plans to take revenge on his sister; Edward P. Jones's narrator recalls her first day of school, ``long before I learned to be ashamed of my mother.'' In William Melvin Kelley's wonderful story about a Harvard-educated baker who moonlights as a hit man, narrator Calvin Coolidge Johnson notes, ``A few years ago, an Africamerican dressed in clean coveralls and carrying a toolkit could get into any downtown Manhattan building, day or night. Nowadays, it takes more ingenuity to penetrate places.'' Whatever its failings, an examination of the effects of the African diaspora on literature is an intriguing idea, and Ancestral House offers sustaining food for thought on a variety of subjects. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
YAThe diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and writing styles among contemporary African American writers is evidenced in this single-volume anthology. Seventy short stories, written by men and women who can trace their original roots to Africa, are included. Well-known authors such as Rita Dove, Ernest J. Gaines, Charles Johnson, Jamaica Kincaid, Terri McMillan, Toni Morrison, Walter Mosley, and Alice Walker appear, as well as unknown writers in translation. The stories vary in subject matter and tone; among them are voodoo, prison life, murder, rape, death, illicit relationships, sex, and a multitude of other taboo topics, as well as stories about intergenerational relationships, people who live life as it is with feelings of acceptance and self-worth. Because of the inclusion of outstanding African American authors and the high quality of the writing, this book's value to any comprehensive collection cannot be ignored.Dottie Kraft, formerly at Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
Booknews
An anthology of 70 uncut short stories collecting the work of writers from the African Diaspora. The authors, representing an immense range of intellectual concerns and cultural perspectives, include Jose Alcantara Almanzar of the Dominican Republic, Luiz Silva "Cuti" of Brazil, Rene Depestre of Haiti, and Astrid Roemer of Surinam/Holland as well as many well-known and less well-known US authors including Amiri Baraka, Rita Dove, John Edgar Wideman, Toni Morrison, and Alice Walker. Paper edition (unseen), $19.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Kathleen Hughes
Charles Rowell, founder and editor of "Callaloo: A Journal of Afro-American and African Arts and Letters," has chosen wonderful, unique stories for this anthology. Represented authors come from all over the world, and their subject matter encompasses the full spectrum of human experience. Most stories are brief, but the reader will want to savor each one. In "My Singular Irene," JoseAlcantra Almanzar of the Dominican Republic reflects on the events that lead up to the narrator's wife's departure. "Willie Bea and Jaybird," by American Tina McElroy Ansa, depicts a woman who finds out that her husband is having an affair with her best friend. And in "Randall Randall," by American Percival Everett, a man unleashes a series of nightmarish events when he moves a neighbor's car without permission. Readers will enjoy this collection of passionate, powerful, quirky, and enchanting tales, which includes works by Toni Morrison and Walter Mosley as well as lesser-known talents.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813320281
  • Publisher: Westview Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/1995
  • Pages: 640

Table of Contents

Foreword
Introduction
Acknowledgments
Absolution 1
My Singular Irene 8
Willie Bea and Jaybird 14
The Organizer's Wife 21
Words 34
Miss Askew on Ice 36
I Used to Like the Dallas Cowboys 50
The Evening and the Morning and the Night 59
Civilization 78
They Called Her Aurora (The Love of Donna Summer) 84
Cherry Bomb 87
Griff 95
Columba 110
The Visit 117
Night Thoughts 125
Avenues 129
Tapestry 131
Rosena on the Mountain 135
Under the Rose 151
Sweat, Sugar, and Blood 156
Ark of Bones 164
A Letter 174
The Miracle 179
Randall Randall 188
This Man and Me 199
Three Men 205
Accidents 227
By Love Possessed 241
She Wakes 246
Kanaima 256
Presence 262
Circle of Shade 265
Alethia 274
The First Day 281
The Fisherman's House 285
Transits 292
My Next-to-Last Hit 300
The Origin of Whales 309
Song of Roland 317
The Blue Room 324
Marriage Bones 328
Shoemaker Arnold 334
City Flesh and Country Manners 340
Some Get Wasted 346
Specimen 354
The More I Like Flies 362
Quilting on the Rebound 374
Black Pieces 385
The Story of a Scar 392
I Do Not Take Messages from Dead People 402
A Happy Story 413
Recitatif 422
A Play 437
Voodoo 448
Bewitched 452
The Devil's Maw 456
Juby's Morning 463
Stop Frame 471
Yawetir 480
Enough Rides 489
Keep a Secret 498
The Inheritance of My Father: A Story for Listening 503
The Little White Girl 515
This City of Men 524
You Think I Mad, Miss? 541
Her Head a Village 546
Sonatina for Two Drums 551
Kembe 557
Nineteen Fifty-Five 562
Fever 573
About the Book and Editor 593
Notes on Contributors 595
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