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Memory of Kin: Stories about Family by Black Writers

Overview

Critic, essayist, and anthologist Mary Helen Washington has chosen as the theme of her newest collection "the family as a living mystery." She selected nineteen stories and twelve poems by some of this century's leading black authors that oblige the reader to observe the complexities of the family in new and provocative ways.
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Memory of Kin: Stories About Family by Black Writers

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Overview

Critic, essayist, and anthologist Mary Helen Washington has chosen as the theme of her newest collection "the family as a living mystery." She selected nineteen stories and twelve poems by some of this century's leading black authors that oblige the reader to observe the complexities of the family in new and provocative ways.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Organized under 10 familial categories--from wives and husbands to mothers and sons to the extended family--this potpourri of stories, excerpts from novels, and poems explores the many ways the generations connect. The standout is James Baldwin's sensitive, intense tale of a young man's struggle with drugs and despair, and the healing power of art in Harlem in the 1950s. Ernest Gaines tells a penetrating story of the lessons a mother teaches her son about power and compassion. Jamaica Kincaid describes a West Indian childhood as a ``paradise'' of love until the mother abruptly changes the rules when her daughter reaches adolescence. A young girl becomes an unwilling witness to the small humiliations her mother must suffer at the welfare office in Paulette Childress White's story. Toni Cade Bambara writes about a feisty child who demands to be taken seriously by her uncle, one of the adults who ``figure they can treat you just anyhow.'' Replete with vivid narratives and illuminating insights, this is an engrossing collection. Washington edited Invented Lives: Narratives of Black Women 1860-1960. (Jan.)
Library Journal
This is an anthology of short stories and poems by black writers that allows readers to challenge their traditional views of the family. Works by Alice Walker, James Baldwin, Rita Dove, Charles Chesnutt, and Paule Marshall show readers how to deal with familial tensions and how to appreciate their own kin. As Washington notes in her introduction, ``The story of family has inspired some of the very best writing by black writers.'' Hers is a refreshing approach that will leave readers full of emotion and an unsatisfied yearning for more.-- Gayle S. Leach, Wayne State Univ. Lib., Detroit
School Library Journal
YA-- This collection of 19 stories, 12 poems, and 15 critical commentaries offers YAs a fertile field to explore when they think about the concept of family. Shattering the myth of the ideal family, these pieces deal with the ever-shifting struggles of American blacks to maintain family patterns . Probing black traditions, cultural patterns, and dialects, the writers paint pictures of as many different families as there are stories and poems in this volume. While most of the selections are from a female viewpoint, readers do have opportunities to see the experience of the black male as well. Students of all ethnic origins will better understand the storyof American blacks if they listen to the voices Washington has assembled here.-- Margaret C. Nolan, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385247832
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/28/1990
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 432
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

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