Office of Historical Corrections : A Novella and Stories
by Evans, Danielle

"The award-winning author of Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self brings her signature voice and insight to the subjects of race, grief, apology, and American history. Danielle Evans is widely acclaimed for her blisteringly smart voice and x-ray insights into the complex human relationships. With The Office of Historical Corrections, Evans zooms in on particular moments and relationships in her characters' lives in a way that allows them to speak to larger issues of race, culture, and history. She introduces us to Black and multi-racial characters who are experiencing the universal confusions of lust and love, and getting walloped by grief-all while exploring how history haunts us, personally and collectively. Ultimately, she provokes us to think about the truths of American history - about who gets to tell them, and the cost of setting the record straight. In "Boys Go to Jupiter" a white college student tries to reinvent herself after a photo of her in a confederate flag bikini goes viral. In "Richard of York Gave Battle in Vain" a photojournalist is forced to confront her own losses while attending an old friend's unexpectedly dramatic wedding. And in the eye-opening title novella, a black scholar from Washington DC is drawn into a complex historical mystery that spans generations and puts her job, her love life, and her oldest friendship at risk"-

Danielle Evans is the author of the story collection Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self, winner of the PEN America PEN/Robert W. Bingham prize, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and the Paterson Prize, and a National Book Foundation "5 under 35" selection. Her stories have appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including The Best American Short Stories. She teaches in The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University.

*Starred Review* In this collection of six short stories and a novella, Evans (Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self, 2010) solidifies her reputation as one of the most thought-provoking contemporary storytellers. She introduces each of her protagonists, all women, on the brink of a life-altering crossroads. Whether these women react or respond to life's curveballs is steeped in the complexities of their moral compasses. Themes of grief, trauma, sisterhood, and love influence their choices, and the ways in which they evolve. Classism also serves as a thread, as they make concessions in their struggles to solidify their places in the world. These women display a bold dedication to living full lives despite societal pressures. Evans writes with a wealth of knowledge of American history, serving as a catalyst for both the prisons and the freedoms her characters are allowed to explore. She dives into the generational wounds from America's violent racial past and present, and crafts her stories with a surgeon's precision. Each detail meticulously builds on the last, leading to satisfying, unforeseeable plot twists. The language is colorful and drenched with emotion. Readers won't be able to look away from the page as Evans captivates them in a world all her own. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

The author of Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self (2010) looks at loss, relationships, and race in America in short fiction and a novella. A summary of the first story in this collection might go like this: Lyssa, a woman working in the gift shop of a Titanic-themed attraction, gets a small part in a music video. That covers the bare bones of the plot, but it offers no insight into what ‚??Happily Ever After‚?Ě is really about: It‚??s Lyssa losing her mother to cancer, and it‚??s how being Black shapes‚?"and contorts‚?"experiences in which race most likely seems irrelevant to people who aren‚??t Black. Most of the pieces in this volume have a similar shape. Regardless of what the story is ostensibly about, it‚??s also about race because there is no escaping or eliding race. Evans writes about injustices large and small with incredible subtlety and, often, wry wit. ‚??Boys Go to Jupiter‚?Ě is a standout, largely because it feels so timely. When a boy she‚??s hooking up with posts a photo of her wearing a Confederate-flag bikini on social media, Claire becomes a viral villain and a pariah at her small Vermont college. On the defensive, Claire goes from being clueless to willfully obtuse and ignorantly hurtful. Scenes from her past add depth and complexity while leaving the reader to decide how these revelations affect their understanding of this character. The eponymous novella that closes the book is a stunner. Cassie works at the Institute for Public History, a federal agency designed to address ‚??the contemporary crisis of truth.‚?Ě It‚??s her job to correct the historical record, whether that means correcting a tourist who‚??s getting their facts wrong or amending a bakery‚??s advertisement for a Juneteenth cake. When her boss asks her to look into the work of another field agent, Cassie steps back into her own past and into a murder mystery that might not involve a murder. To say much more would only detract from storytelling that is gripping on every level. Necessary narratives, brilliantly crafted. Copyright Kirkus 2020 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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