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author interview

Heathens: an excerpt

  For David Haynes, the road to publication was a long one. Publishing houses just weren't sure there was a market for African-American fiction that didn't involve the inner city, drugs, or gangs. Everything changed when tiny New Rivers Press in Minnesota decided to publish David's first novel, Right By My Side, in 1993. His middle-class, mid-Western, African-American characters--real, human, flawed, and hilarious--struck a chord with readers and critics alike. Three years--and three novels--later, the prestigious literary magazine, Granta, named him one of the twenty best young American novelists.

In this month's issue of Bold Type, David Haynes talks to us about his work answers a cultural questionnaire. And you'll have the opportunity to sample David's deservedly acclaimed sense of humor with an excerpt from his fourth novel, Heathens, just out in paperback, which focuses on the complicated ties that bind three generations of the unforgettable Gabriel family. Marcus has the blues because his irrespressible wife, LaDonna, is doing twenty-five days at the local women's detention center for selling a house she didn't own. He's left to manage his teenage son, Ali, and his opinionated mother, Verda, who sees at long last her chance to liberate Marcus from her infernal daugher-in-law. The question is, just how far can they all fall in just twenty-five days?

Photo of David Haynes © copyright Donna Kelly

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