The Unforgetting Heart: An Anthology of Short Stories by African American Women (1859-1993)

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this solid chronological collection, the first nine stories out of 32, originally published between 1859 and 1909, might not have much literary merit; but they are nonetheless valuable for their cultural insights. Several of the writers here focus on the lavish but hollow world of whites in which black protagonists are often self-deprecating and subservient. Annie McCary's story of 1915 is one of the first in which a southern black man is a hero, overcoming his resentment at being thrown off the college track team because of his race. Some of the next stories in the collection turn toward strong black women characters. In one from 1917 that vividly recreates the agony of slave life, Adeline F. Ries creates a powerful ``Mammy'' who gets revenge by drowning the white infant her recently dead daughter had been forced to care for. Becky Birtha's piece is about a black girl blossoming into a lesbian who is defiantly at odds with the lifestyle of the women in her extended family. In the collection's section from contemporary times, the selected writers are more familiar: Zora Neale Hurston, Paule Marshall, Alice Walker, Terry McMillan. But there are some surprises even here, such as Ann Petry's 1944 story presaging desegregation, about a six-year-old black girl's experience at an all-white school. Kanwar wrote Fictional Theories and Three English Novels. (Sept.)
Library Journal
This adequate collection features the work of such well-known favorites as Alice Walker, Gloria Naylor, and Zora Neale Hurston. The weak introductory essay includes a tangential section comparing the struggles of African Americans with those of Indians, particularly the Dalit community of ``untouchables.'' Although it does provide coverage of important writers not found in earlier African American short story anthologies or in those highlighting white women writers, readers may want to consider a collection such as Daughter of Africa ( LJ 10/1/91) before choosing this one. For comprehensive American literature collections.-- Faye A. Chadwell, Univ. of South Carolina Lib., Columbia
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781879960305
  • Publisher: Aunt Lute Books
  • Publication date: 1/1/1995
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

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