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Memory of Kin: Stories About Family by Black Writers
Critic, essayist, and anthologist Mary Helen Washington has chosen as the theme of her newest collection "the family as a living mystery." She selected nineteen stories and twelve poems by some of this century's leading black authors that oblige the reader to observe the complexities of the family in new and provocative ways.
Organized under 10 familial categories--from wives and husbands to mothers and sons to the extended family--this potpourri of stories, excerpts from novels, and poems explores the many ways the generations connect. The standout is James Baldwin's sensitive, intense tale of a young man's struggle with drugs and despair, and the healing power of art in Harlem in the 1950s. Ernest Gaines tells a penetrating story of the lessons a mother teaches her son about power and compassion. Jamaica Kincaid describes a West Indian childhood as a ``paradise'' of love until the mother abruptly changes the rules when her daughter reaches adolescence. A young girl becomes an unwilling witness to the small humiliations her mother must suffer at the welfare office in Paulette Childress White's story. Toni Cade Bambara writes about a feisty child who demands to be taken seriously by her uncle, one of the adults who ``figure they can treat you just anyhow.'' Replete with vivid narratives and illuminating insights, this is an engrossing collection. Washington edited Invented Lives: Narratives of Black Women 1860-1960. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved