Nouvelle Soul: Short Stories

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9781567430035: Nouvelle Soul: Short Stories
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"Nouvelle Soul begins where labels of race, gender, and status end, where lives undress in intimate moments of unexpected challenge," writes Barbara Summers. Chosen to launch Amistad's fiction series introducing talented new African-American writers, Nouvelle Soul is a graceful and sophisticated collection sure to become part of enduring contemporary literature. Its twenty-four stories, as different in style as they are in subject, introduce a diverse range of characters and personalities - real people in settings sensitively drawn to reflect realities we often overlook - and provide new perspectives on scenes we think familiar.
Barbara Summers depicts men and women confronted with the varying demands of everyday life, lovers finding and losing each other, pioneers challenging the status quo. She seats us on a park bench next to three young children sharing a fried chicken lunch with Billie Holiday ("A Bite to Eat"). She turns the tables on a narcissistic young Black professional for whom women seem at best a form of entertainment ("Maneuvers"). She takes us on vacation with three young married women reveling in the freedom of one night out by themselves ("Boqueron"). She obliges us to consider the homeless street person we would otherwise prefer not to see ("Me and Superman").
Summers brings us face-to-face with life in all its dimensions - open and secret, conventional and unconventional - and artfully reminds us that such distinctions are rarely as obvious as they at first appear. A twenty-fifth wedding anniversary celebrated in Paris can give cause for mourning ("Panach'"). The funeral for a much loved family man can call into question his devotion to family ("A Good Man"). A life of adventure can draw to an altogether prosaic close ("Tony the Tiger").
Writing with a sure, deft touch, Summers addresses the wider human condition chronicling the richness of African-American life and culture. She both prompts us to laughter and brings us to tears. She acknowledges disillusionment and defeat as well as everyday triumphs. She demonstrates the power of love and its limitations.
Whether read from beginning to end or sampled one piece at a time like a box of fine chocolates. Nouvelle Soul will engage your heart and challenge your preconceptions. This debut collection is truly a cause for celebration among all readers.

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About the Author:

Barbara Summers is the editor of the bestseller I Dream A World:Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America and author of a collection of short stories, Nouvelle Soul, and the novel The Price You Pay. Her own story as a model is one of many told in Black and Beautiful

From Publishers Weekly:

A simplistic prose style and weak structure hamper many of the 24 stories in one of the first offerings from this new press, Summers's fiction debut. Set in various American cities and in Paris, the entries center on modern African Americans, whether working- or middle-class or affluent. The most interesting works deal with historical figures: Paul Robeson and his son are the subjects of ``The Overcoat,'' while ``Free Skies'' chronicles the life and mysterious death of Bessie Coleman, the first African American to earn an aviator's license. Elsewhere, plots dramatize social issues--one of the protagonists in ``Help'' is a battered woman; the narrator of ``Me and Superman'' is homeless; various characters allude to the problems of being dark-skinned in predominantly light-skinned families--but Summers's narrative gifts are not strong enough to elevate these complex situations above the stereotypical. ``Help,'' for example, ends in melodrama, while the narrator of ``Me and Superman'' unconvincingly mouths a string of cliches. Other stories overdose on irony: in ``A Good Man,'' a deceased pillar of the community receives a grand funeral during which his reputation undergoes abrupt revision, with unexpected implications for the narrator. Summers edited I Dream a World .

Copyright 1992 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Summers, Barbara
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