Echo Tree: Book summary and reviews of Echo Tree by Henry Dumas

Echo Tree

The Collected Short Fiction of Henry Dumas

by Henry Dumas

Echo Tree by Henry Dumas X
Echo Tree by Henry Dumas
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About this book

Book Summary

Africanfuturism, gothic romance, ghost story, parable, psychological thriller, inner-space fiction: Henry Dumas's stories form a vivid, expansive portrait of Black life in America.

Championed by Toni Morrison and Walter Mosley, Dumas's fabulist fiction is a masterful synthesis of myth and religion, culture and nature, mask and identity. From the Deep South to the simmering streets of Harlem, his characters embark on real, magical, and mythic quests. Humming with life, Dumas's stories create a collage of midcentury Black experiences, interweaving religious metaphor, African cosmologies, diasporic folklore, and America's history of slavery and systemic racism.

Henry Dumas was born in Sweet Home, Arkansas, in 1934 and moved to Harlem at the age of ten. He joined the air force in 1953 and spent a year on the Arabian Peninsula. Upon his return, Dumas became active in the civil rights movement, married, had two sons, attended Rutgers University, worked for IBM, and taught at Hiram College in Ohio and at Southern Illinois University. In 1968, at the age of thirty-three, he was shot and killed by a New York City Transit Authority police officer.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[A] vital collection...[of] thrilling, variegated short fiction...Dumas's work exhibits a wide stylistic range, from realism, allegory, and folklore to trippy supernaturalism...This collection resounds with a piercing voice that demands to be heard." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"The work of a late, lamented, and influential icon of the 1960s Black Arts Movement is brought back into print to connect with a post-millennial Black Lives Matter generation of readers—and writers...Every couple of decades or so, we need to be reminded of what made writers like Toni Morrison call Henry Dumas a genius." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Black culture and manhood take center stage in these stories, explored in Dumas's lyrical, brutal prose, which orients and propels his tales to resonant endings, signaling a mastery of craft...With a sharp eye that is both a credit to the original writing and the strength of its editing, these stories connect the past to the present. Echo Tree is a vibrant short story collection." - Foreword Reviews (starred review)

"Henry Dumas is one of my favorite poets ever...now we have his collected short fiction, which features gothic romances, psychological thrillers, ghost stories, and more. Trust me, Reader, Dumas is electric, with writing that pulses through the vein, pumping straight for your heart." - LitHub

"Dumas brought his gift as a poet to prose, and his deft ear picked up voices whether from the living or the dead. He was doing Lovecraft Country decades before it went viral. If there were such a thing as an Afro-Gothic school of artists, included would be Thelonious Monk, Horace Pippin, Albert Ayler, Betye and Lezley Saar—and Henry Dumas, a legend while living and a legend in the afterlife." - Ishmael Reed

"Echo Tree arrives at the moment in our culture when we need Dumas's daring imagination the most." - Jeffrey B. Leak, author of Visible Man: The Life of Henry Dumas

"Dumas's world is a Black poem...Despite having been killed by a New York police officer when he was just thirty-three, Dumas left us a body of work that ensures his place as one of the best writers America has ever known. The literary canon is dishonest without him, and this collection of his stories should be read and cited as widely as Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, and James Baldwin are—this is our music." - Harmony Holiday, author of Maafa

This information about Echo Tree shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, 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 the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media 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

Henry Dumas

Henry Dumas was born in Sweet Home, Arkansas, in 1934 and moved to Harlem at the age of ten. He joined the air force in 1953 and spent a year on the Arabian Peninsula. Upon his return, Dumas became active in the civil rights movement, married, had two sons, attended Rutgers University, worked for IBM, and taught at Hiram College in Ohio and at Southern Illinois University. In 1968, at the age of thirty-three, he was shot and killed by a New York City Transit Authority police officer.

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