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Heads of the Colored People Summary and Reviews

Heads of the Colored People

Stories

by Nafissa Thompson-Spires

Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires X
Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires
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About this book

Book Summary

Calling to mind the best works of Paul Beatty and Junot Díaz, this collection of moving, timely, and darkly funny stories examines the concept of black identity in this so-called post-racial era.

A stunning new talent in literary fiction, Nafissa Thompson-Spires grapples with black identity and the contemporary middle class in these compelling, boundary-pushing vignettes.

Each captivating story plunges headfirst into the lives of new, utterly original characters. Some are darkly humorous - from two mothers exchanging snide remarks through notes in their kids' backpacks, to the young girl contemplating how best to notify her Facebook friends of her impending suicide - while others are devastatingly poignant - a new mother and funeral singer who is driven to madness with grief for the young black boys who have fallen victim to gun violence, or the teen who struggles between her upper middle class upbringing and her desire to fully connect with black culture.

Thompson-Spires fearlessly shines a light on the simmering tensions and precariousness of black citizenship. Her stories are exquisitely rendered, satirical, and captivating in turn, engaging in the ongoing conversations about race and identity politics, as well as the vulnerability of the black body. Boldly resisting categorization and easy answers, Nafissa Thompson-Spires is an original and necessary voice in contemporary fiction.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. In an era when writers of color are broadening the space in which class and culture as well as race are examined, Thompson-Spires' auspicious beginnings auger a bright future in which she could set new standards for the short story." - Kirkus

"Starred Review. Presenting unique characters, gifted storyteller Thompson-Spires navigates the black experience with humor and poignancy while also acknowledging the inherent tensions and exposure to violence black citizens encounter." - Library Journal

"Stuffed with invention… Thompson-Spires proves herself a trenchant humorist with an eye for social nuance." - Publishers Weekly

"With a well-tuned ear for the cadence of comedy and dialogue, Thompson-Spires uses her characters to illustrate what real conversations about identity can be - sometimes awkward, occasionally hilarious, but never simple." - Booklist

"Nafissa Thompson-Spires has a way of staring intense, awkward, comic, and sorrowful situations right in the face. There's no escaping her honest gaze. Heads of the Colored People is a necessary and powerful new collection with, thankfully, not a dull sentence to be found." - Peter Orner, author of Am I Alone Here?

"With devastating insight and remarkable style, Nafissa Thompson-Spires explores what it means to come to terms with one's body, one's family, one's future. The eleven vignettes in Heads of the Colored People elevate the unusual and expose the unseen, forming an original - and urgent - portrait of American life." - Allegra Hyde, author of Of This New World

"Vivid, fast, funny, way-smart, and verbally inventive, these stories by the vastly talented Thompson-Spires create a compelling surface tension made of equal parts skepticism towards human nature and intense fondness of it. Located on the big questions, they are full of heart." - George Saunders, author of Lincoln in the Bardo

"Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires is an unusually intricate matrix of clear-eyed observation and devastating revelation about what it means to be a human being alive on this aching, raucous, unjust planet in the early 21st century. It is also, often, extremely funny, and is very smart on every page and gorgeously, rewardingly varied in its sentences and forms." - Laird Hunt, author of Neverhome

"The stories here are dazzling, wise, wicked and tender. Nafissa Thompson-Spires' debut is a knockout." - Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble: Stories

This information about Heads of the Colored People was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Nafissa Thompson-Spires

Nafissa Thompson-Spires earned a doctorate in English from ­­­­Vanderbilt University and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from ­­­­­­the University of Illinois. Her work has appeared in Story Quarterly, Lunch Ticket, and The Feminist Wire, among other publications. She is a 2016 fellow of the Callaloo Writer's Workshop.

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