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The many facets of black family life have not always been fully visible in American literature. Black families have often been portrayed as chaotic, fractured, and emotionally devastated, and historians and sociologists are just beginning to acknowledge the resilience and strength of African American families through centuries of hardship. In Mending the World, a host of beloved writers celebrate the richness of black family life, revealing how deep, complicated, and joyous modern kinship can be.From James McBride's tender recollection of the man who claimed eight stepchildren as his own to Toi Derricotte's moving portrait of a pregnant teenager who decides to keep her child; from Debra Dickerson's lament over the shooting that crippled her nephew to Charles Johnson's whimsical look at a married couple's mid-life crisis; from Shay Youngblood's moving fictional evocation of a lost mother to poet Kendel Hippolyte's poignant telling of a father's unexpected legacy, this inspiring volume presents-through fiction, memoir, and poetry-a multi-layered and optimistic portrait of today's black America.Mending the World features fiction, personal memoir, and poetry by new writers (some publishing here for the first time) and established members of the canon.
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Rosemarie Robotham is the senior Editor-at-Large of Essence magazine. She is the co-author of Spirits of the Passage: The Transatlantic Slave Trade in the Seventeenth Century, the editor of the anthology The Bluelight Corner, and the author of a novel, Zachary's Wings. She lives in New York City.From Publishers Weekly:
Robotham, senior editor-at-large at Essence and author of Spirits of the Passage, here presents a preface from Maya Angelou ("we can all agree that our world needs mending") and a foreword from author and playwright Pearl Cleage ("This book is an important part of...understanding the power of love, the necessity of truth, and the possibility of rebirth"), and 30 short pieces of fiction and nonfiction that center on moments of care and understanding of one form or another among family members. Most have been previously published, and some will be familiar to regular readers of fiction and essays, such as the excerpt from Jamaica Kincaid’s novel Annie John, Gerald Early’s "The Driving Lesson," Edwidge Danticat’s "The Book of the Dead" and Alice Walker’s "The Two of Us." The pieces by younger writers (Robotham provides short bios) also feel familiar, but put enough of a twist on wayward male narratives (Nelson Eubanks, April Reynolds) and divorce (William Jelani Cobb) to hold interest. Robotham’s goal of telling "the story of today’s Black family" provides a clear, activist context that holds the book together, working to advance the title goal despite mostly tepid material.
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