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In spare, elegant stories reminiscent of the writings of Harlem Renaissance writer Dorothy West, Anika Nailah illuminates the emotional, spiritual, and social realities that shape--and sometimes destroy--the lives and dreams of ordinary African Americans.
The stories in Free offer a moving, strikingly original perspective on how cultural experiences and social assumptions impact our lives. The characters include young children trying to cope with the mysteries of adult behavior, adults striving to define themselves in a society unwilling to accept who and what they are, and elderly people looking back on the often difficult choices they have made. They all share a yearning to be free of the ties imposed upon them by others, ties that bind their bodies, minds, and spirits. In probing the interior reality behind the everyday faces her characters assume, the author brilliantly exposes the injustices and struggles African Americans confront, the skills they develop in order to survive, and the psychological and spiritual costs of survival.
"In spite of their directness and wrenching emotional accuracy, there is nothing predictable about these well-wrought stories, although they are classical in their catharsis. As Nailah's sensitive and compelling protagonists face adversity, fear, and sorrow, they discover new paths to freedom and new forms of power."—Booklist (American Library Association), starred review
"Nailah....probes various strategies for dealing with racial inequity in America with sincerity and optimism in this debut collection. Nailah is a strong storyteller who creates well-defined characters, and she's at her best putting them in unusual situations that force both characters and readers to think outside the box....There is talent on display in the crafting of these tales...."--Publishers Weekly
Table of Contents:
Prologue; Trudy; Four; My Side of the Story; The Ride; Professor; Sunday Visit; Bucket; Deena; French; Alice & Jesse; Inside Out; Joey Falling; Jarvis; Free; Epilogue