Children of the Night

Children of the Night

The Best Short Stories by Black Writers, 1967 to the Present

Book - 1995
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In 1969, Little, Brown and Company published The Best Short Stories by Black Writers, edited by Langston Hughes - the classic compendium of African-American short fiction from 1897 to 1967. Now, a quarter of a century later, Gloria Naylor has compiled an encore volume, Children of the Night, bringing this extraordinary series up to date. Gathering together the most gifted black writers of our time - from 1967 to the present - Naylor has assembled a rich and varied collection of stories. The portrait that emerges of the African-American experience in the post-Civil Rights era is stirring, compelling, sometimes disturbing, and certainly provocative. Naylor has arranged the stories thematically so the reader focuses on a particular subject - slavery, for example, or the family. In the hands of different writers, these themes provide a wealth and variety of human experience. The stories are more than testimonies of the long battle for survival. From a young woman's struggles with her barren faith in Alice Walker's lyrical "The Diary of an African Nun" to an innocent man's involvement in a horrifying act of violence in Ann Petry's "The Witness", they are, as Naylor states in her introduction, "examples of affirmation: of memory, of history, of family, of being". They are stories for all of us "at the beginning: of mankind as a species; of America as a nation; of the African-American as a full citizen".
Publisher: Boston ; Toronto : Little, Brown and Co., c1995
ISBN: 9780316599269
0316599263
Characteristics: xx, 569 p. ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Naylor, Gloria

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nftaussig Apr 29, 2012

This anthology was intended as a companion to the anthology The Best Short Stories by Black Writers: 1899 - 1967 (The Classic Anthology) edited by Langston Hughes. While it contains a number of interesting stories, the earlier volume was better. The problem is that some of the stories Gloria Naylor includes fail to grip the reader's imagination (among which are some of the longer stories). That said, there are many worthwhile stories here. They include:

James Baldwin's superb 1968 story "Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone" about the narrator's relationships with his older brother and his father and how they are affected by an encounter with the police; Diane Oliver's harrowing 1967 tale "Neighbors" about a family whose son is slated to be the first black student to integrate a school; Charles Johnson's amusing 1986 story "China" about a wife who is befuddled when a martial arts double feature inspires her hypochondriac husband to begin a fitness regimen; James Alan McPherson's 1972 story "A Loaf of Bread" about the confrontation between a white grocer and a poor, black community that is incensed to learn that he charges more for the food he sells in their neighborhood than the food he sells in a more affluent white neighborhood; Naylor's humorous 1982 story "Kiswana Browne" about an argument between a woman and her mother; Edward P. Jones' 1992 tale "Lost in the City" about a woman's distracted response to the news of her mother's death; and Edwidge's Danticat's 1995 story "New York Day Woman" about the cultural gulf between a professional woman and her Haitian immigrant mother.

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nftaussig Apr 29, 2012

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nftaussig Apr 29, 2012

This volume consists of 37 stories written by black North American writers that were published between 1967 and 1995, an introduction by Gloria Naylor, and brief capsule biographies of the authors. The stories are arranged thematically. Each author is represented by one story. Among the authors are Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, Rita Dove, Ralph Ellison, Charles Johnson, James Alan McPherson, Naylor, Ann Petry, Ntozake Shange, Alice Walker, and John Edgar Wideman.

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