Nouvelle Soul: Short Stories
"Nouvelle Soul begins where labels of race, gender, and status end, where lives undress in intimate moments of unexpected challenge, " writes Barbara Summers. Chosen to launch Amistad's fiction series introducing talented new African-American writers, Nouvelle Soul is a graceful and sophisticated collection sure to become part of enduring contemporary literature. Its twenty-four stories, as different in style as they are in subject, introduce a diverse range of characters and personalities - real people in settings sensitively drawn to reflect realities we often overlook - and provide new perspectives on scenes we think familiar. Barbara Summers depicts men and women confronted with the varying demands of everyday life, lovers finding and losing each other, pioneers challenging the status quo. She seats us on a park bench next to three young children sharing a fried chicken lunch with Billie Holiday ("A Bite to Eat"). She turns the tables on a narcissistic young Black professional for whom women seem at best a form of entertainment ("Maneuvers"). She takes us on vacation with three young married women reveling in the freedom of one night out by themselves ("Boqueron"). She obliges us to consider the homeless street person we would otherwise prefer not to see ("Me and Superman"). Summers brings us face-to-face with life in all its dimensions - open and secret, conventional and unconventional - and artfully reminds us that such distinctions are rarely as obvious as they at first appear. A twenty-fifth wedding anniversary celebrated in Paris can give cause for mourning ("Panach'"). The funeral for a much loved family man can call into question his devotion to family ("A Good Man"). A lifeof adventure can draw to an altogether prosaic close ("Tony the Tiger"). Writing with a sure, deft touch, Summers addresses the wider human condition chronicling the richness of African-American life and culture. She both prompts us to laughter and brings us to tears. She acknowle
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