“Each story is a trenchant exploration of race and class, vividly conveying the tension between social codes of masculinity and the vulnerable, volatile self.”


All nine of the stories in this collection concern black boys and men, and their relationships with each other, woman, siblings, their parents, and those loved by others who are now gone.

They are all heartfelt and revealing of the emotions these characters go through as they deal with life on the terms that are dealt to them. One story is about a young boy who has joined a day camp and they are going to a house that has a big swimming pool and a big BBQ. But this time they don’t go to that house. This time they go to a house owned by a black family, a first time trip for everyone and the anticipation he felt all day slowly changes as the reality is that this house isn’t quite up to the standards the other house owned by that white family was.

The opening story of two friends on the prowl looking to party, meeting two very attractive woman, how their choosing which one they will get, and their all night quest to get what they want leads them to remember and realize other things about their lives that cling to them now and probably always will.

For me, the best story is the very last story called Clifton’s Place which is the tender story of a regular customer at a small local bar who draws pictures of the clientele and will enact an ultimate kindness to the aging, fading female owner of the bar, who named it after her long lost boyfriend, hoping some day he will return.

This book has been short listed for this years National Book Award. The author, with this collection, shows immense promise as to future writings.



Reviewed by:

Richard Franco

Added 25th December 2018

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Richard Franco