The new story collection from MacArthur Fellow John Edgar Wideman – exploring subjects from the imagined to the historical and personal
These stories offer spellbinding reflections on abolitionists and artists, fathers and sons, the bonds of family and the pull of memory. A re-imagined conversation takes place between white anti-slavery crusader John Brown and black abolitionist Frederick Douglass. A man sits on the edge of Williamsburg Bridge, contemplating suicide. The author considers the deaths of his brother, uncle, mother and niece.John Edgar Wideman’s fiction challenges the boundaries of the form. Emotionally precise and intellectually stimulating, this is Wideman at his best.
“Laced together, the stories in American Histories read like an immense jazz riff … The acutely immersive world of American Histories is irresistible, and these profoundly moving stories will haunt you long after you’ve finished reading”
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“Wideman’s rage against American injustice and racial prejudice burns magma-hot in his latest short stories … Immensely powerful … Challenging, animating, enlivening and electrifying; it does what literature should do. It’s a bruising experience that leaves you feeling vulnerable and excited and alive”
“Wideman is a writer who excels at dramatising African American sensibilities and this collection typically addresses issues of race, injustice and inequality with power and potency … This is published alongside Wideman’s earlier novels and is a gem for anyone yet to discover his work”
“With the scrupulous intelligence and meditative intensity that define all this author’s work, the stories move from subjects like the Civil War and Nat Turner’s rebellion to Mr. Wideman’s family’s tribulations, the two threads twining so intricately that they’re impossible to separate … John Edgar Wideman’s stories show he is a master of modernist collage”
wall Street Journal
“Wherever we’re going with him, we’re going to engage with America’s unhealed wounds of slavery and racism … Wideman’s stories range widely over experiences from slavery to the present day … All are illumined by a searching intelligence and a willingness to test the boundaries of the short story form”
new York Times
John Edgar Wideman’s books include Writing to Save a Life, Philadelphia Fire, Brothers and Keepers, Fatheralong, Hoop Roots and Sent for You Yesterday. He is a MacArthur Fellow and has won the PEN/Faulkner Award twice and has been a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and National Book Award. In 2017, Wideman won the Prix Femina Étranger for Writing to Save a Life. He divides his time between New York and France.