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Overview


Fiction. African American Studies. African American women protagonists lose and find love, confront sanity and craziness, and strive to make sense of their lives in North Carolina. A Jehovah's Witness girl goes door-to-door with an expert field-service partner from up north. At a call center, operator Sheila fields a caller's uncomfortable questions under a ruthless supervisor's eye. Forty-something Aunt Ginny surprises the family by finding a husband, but soon she gives them more to talk about. Pulitzer-Prize ...
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Overview


Fiction. African American Studies. African American women protagonists lose and find love, confront sanity and craziness, and strive to make sense of their lives in North Carolina. A Jehovah's Witness girl goes door-to-door with an expert field-service partner from up north. At a call center, operator Sheila fields a caller's uncomfortable questions under a ruthless supervisor's eye. Forty-something Aunt Ginny surprises the family by finding a husband, but soon she gives them more to talk about. Pulitzer-Prize winner Edward P. Jones writes "Watts offers an impressive debut that promises only wonderful work to come." Fiction writer Marly Swick agrees: "Each story seems, at the same time, to be a breath of fresh air and an instant classic." Author Alyce Miller notes that "Watts writes with a penetrating eye for the extraordinary moments in the lives of ordinary people. As I read, I found myself holding my breath."
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In a strong debut, Watts chronicles in 11 stories the lives of black North Carolinians who come from or lived near the “dark houses out on tangled dirt roads on the fringes of the county.” Bright and witty 18-year-old Jehovah’s Witness Stephanie (Watts was formerly a Jehovah’s Witness minister) preaches door-to-door in the Pushcart Prize–winning “Unassigned Territory” and contemplates whether “To serve Jehovah during my youth (which, by the way, is the surprising twist ending to our magazine, Making the Most of Your Youth) or to go to college.” The choices aren’t so stark for Shelia, who in “Black Power” navigates widening gulfs between herself and her business-student fiancé, Polo, and Wendy, another black woman marooned with her as a customer support operator in the National Kennel Club cubicles. A real emotional connection comes in a surprising form when she gets a call from a drug dealer who needs papers for his dachshund. In Watts’s South, people are trapped, by relationships, jobs, and flaws in their character, which can lead to a trap of a different sort: incarceration. And not everyone (nor everything) makes it out alive. As the bereft narrator of the title story declares, the kind of love found in the Carolina hills—and in these stories—“demands tribute.” (Nov. 30)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781886157798
  • Publisher: BkMk Press at the University of Missouri-Kansas City
  • Publication date: 11/30/2011
  • Pages: 221
  • Sales rank: 529,806
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author


Stephanie Powell Watts teaches at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. "Unassigned Territory" from this collection received the Pushcart Prize and a citation from Best American Short Stories. Two stories from the book appeared in Best New Stories from the South anthologies. Watts's work has appeared in Oxford American, New Letters, African American Review, and elsewhere. A former Jehovah's Witness minister born and raised in Lenoir, North Carolina, she holds the PhD from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She has received the Southern Women Writers Conference's emerging writer of the year award in fiction.
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