The acclaimed author’s first collection of stories

“Gayl Jones’s work represents a watershed in American literature. From a literary standpoint, her form is impeccable . . . and as a Black woman writer, her truth-telling, filled with beauty, tragedy, humor, and incisiveness, is unmatched.” —Imani Perry

Gayl Jones has been described as one of the great literary writers of the 20th century and was recently a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and The National Book Award. This collection of short fiction was her third book, originally edited and published by Toni Morrison in 1977, and is reissued now alongside her second collection, BUTTER, in paperback for the first time.

The collection contains twelve provocative tales that explore the emotional and mental terrain of a diverse cast of characters, from the innocent to the insane. In each, Jones displays her unflinching ability to dive into the most treacherous of psyches and circumstances: the title story examines the identity and relationship conundrums of a black man who can pass for white, earning him the name “White Rat” as an infant; “The Women” follows a girl whose mother brings a line of female lovers to live in their home; “Jevata” details eighteen-year-old Freddy’s relationship with the fifty-year-old title character; “The Coke Factory” tracks the thoughts of a mentally handicapped adolescent abandoned by his mother; and “Asylum” focuses on a woman having a nervous breakdown, trying to protect her dignity and her private parts as she enters an institution. In uncompromising prose, and dialect that veers from northern, educated tongues to down-home southern colloquialisms, Jones illuminates lives that society ignores, moving them to center stage.
White Rat

Your Poems Have Very Little Color in Them

The Women

Jevata

Asylum

Persona

The Coke Factory

The Return: A Fantasy

The Roundhouse

Legend

A Quite Place for the Summer

Version 2
Gayl Jones was born in Kentucky in 1949. She attended Connecticut College and Brown University, and has taught at Wellesley College and the University of Michigan. Her landmark books include Corregidora, Eva’s Man, The Healing (a National Book Award finalist and New York Times Notable Book of the Year), Palmares (a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in fiction), and most recently, The Birdcatcher (National Book Award finalist).

About

The acclaimed author’s first collection of stories

“Gayl Jones’s work represents a watershed in American literature. From a literary standpoint, her form is impeccable . . . and as a Black woman writer, her truth-telling, filled with beauty, tragedy, humor, and incisiveness, is unmatched.” —Imani Perry

Gayl Jones has been described as one of the great literary writers of the 20th century and was recently a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and The National Book Award. This collection of short fiction was her third book, originally edited and published by Toni Morrison in 1977, and is reissued now alongside her second collection, BUTTER, in paperback for the first time.

The collection contains twelve provocative tales that explore the emotional and mental terrain of a diverse cast of characters, from the innocent to the insane. In each, Jones displays her unflinching ability to dive into the most treacherous of psyches and circumstances: the title story examines the identity and relationship conundrums of a black man who can pass for white, earning him the name “White Rat” as an infant; “The Women” follows a girl whose mother brings a line of female lovers to live in their home; “Jevata” details eighteen-year-old Freddy’s relationship with the fifty-year-old title character; “The Coke Factory” tracks the thoughts of a mentally handicapped adolescent abandoned by his mother; and “Asylum” focuses on a woman having a nervous breakdown, trying to protect her dignity and her private parts as she enters an institution. In uncompromising prose, and dialect that veers from northern, educated tongues to down-home southern colloquialisms, Jones illuminates lives that society ignores, moving them to center stage.

Table of Contents

White Rat

Your Poems Have Very Little Color in Them

The Women

Jevata

Asylum

Persona

The Coke Factory

The Return: A Fantasy

The Roundhouse

Legend

A Quite Place for the Summer

Version 2

Author

Gayl Jones was born in Kentucky in 1949. She attended Connecticut College and Brown University, and has taught at Wellesley College and the University of Michigan. Her landmark books include Corregidora, Eva’s Man, The Healing (a National Book Award finalist and New York Times Notable Book of the Year), Palmares (a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in fiction), and most recently, The Birdcatcher (National Book Award finalist).

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