Finalist • PEN / Jean Stein Book Award Longlisted • Aspen Words Literary Prize Best Books of the Year: Washington Post, NPR, Buzzfeed and Entropy Best Short Story Collections of the Year: Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, the New York Public Library, and Electric Literature
The World Doesn’t Require You announces the arrival of a generational talent, as Rion Amilcar Scott shatters rigid genre lines to explore larger themes of religion, violence, and loveall told with sly humor and a dash of magical realism.
Established by the leaders of the country’s only successful slave revolt in the mid-nineteenth century, Cross River still evokes the fierce rhythms of its founding. In lyrical prose and singular dialect, a saga beats forward that echoes the fables carried down for generationslike the screecher birds who swoop down for their periodic sacrifice, and the water women who lure men to wet deaths.
Among its residentswildly spanning decades, perspectives, and speciesare David Sherman, a struggling musician who just happens to be God’s last son; Tyrone, a ruthless PhD candidate, whose dissertation about a childhood game ignites mayhem in the neighboring, once-segregated town of Port Yooga; and Jim, an all-too-obedient robot who serves his Master. As the book builds to its finish with Special Topics in Loneliness Studies, a fully-realized novella, two unhinged professors grapple with hugely different ambitions, and the reader comes to appreciate the intricacy of the world Scott has createdone where fantasy and reality are eternally at war.
Contemporary and essential, The World Doesn’t Require You is a “leap into a blazing new level of brilliance” (Lauren Groff) that affirms Rion Amilcar Scott as a writer whose storytelling gifts the world very much requires.
Rion Amilcar Scott's first book, Insurrections, won the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction. His work has been published in the Kenyon Review, the Rumpus, PANK, and Confrontation, among others. He lives and writes in Maryland.
Table of Contents
David Sherman, the Last Son of God 1
The Nigger Knockers 22
The Electric Joy of Service 43
The Temple of Practical Arts 47
A Rare and Powerful Employee 73
A Loudness of Screechers 92
Mercury in Retrograde 96
On the Occasion of the Death of Freddie Lee
Slim in Hell 120
Rolling in My Six-Fo'-Daa Daa Daa-with All My Niggas Saying: Swing Down Sweet Chariot Stop and Let Me Riiiide. Hell Yeah. 132
Special Topics in Loneliness Studies 155
I The Fall 157
II Winter Break 179
III The Spring; or, Special Topics in Loneliness Studies 205
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