A wide-ranging collection, including two novellas and ten stories exploring complex identities, from the acclaimed author of Corregidora, The Healing, and Palmares

“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, author of, Looking for Lorraine and Breathe

Gayl Jones, who was first edited by Toni Morrison, has been described as one of the great literary writers of the 20th century and was recently a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in fiction. This new collection of short fiction is only the second in her rich career, and one that displays her strengths in the genre in many facets. Opening with two novella-length works, “Butter” and “Sophia,” this collection features Jones’s legendary talents in a range of settings and styles, from the hyper-realist to the mystical, in intricate multi-part stories, in more traditional forms, and even in short fragments.

Her narrators are women and men, Black, Brown, Indigenous; her settings are historical and contemporary, in South America, Mexico and the US; her themes center on complex identities, unorthodox longings and aspirations. She writes about spies, photographers, playground designers, cartoonists, and baristas, about workers and revolutionaries, about environmentalism, feminism, poetry, film and love, but above all about our multicultural, multiethnic and multiracial society.
“Butter”: A novella

“Sophia”: A novella

“Screen Test”: A fragment

“A Spy Story”

“Garlic Bread”: A novella

“The Costume Maker”

“Worker”: A fragment

“Mirabeau”

“Jigsaw Sandals”

“Shuger’s Wife”

“The Female Angel”

“Horse Race”: A fragment

“Bathtub Gin”: A fragment

“The Historian, the Actress, and the Playwright”

“Ravenna”

“The Horse-Believing Woman”

“The Lost Stories”: Fragments
Jazz People
Abstract Fiction
Cultural Pluralism
Sweet Marsala
Rainbow People
The Elephant, or Totem and Taboo
The Gingerbread Man: An Experiment
Wooley Boatman
Stephan and Pilar
Mrs. Marsipan
Aunt Jane’s Dream
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

A wide-ranging collection, including two novellas and ten stories exploring complex identities, from the acclaimed author of Corregidora, The Healing, and Palmares

“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, author of, Looking for Lorraine and Breathe

Gayl Jones, who was first edited by Toni Morrison, has been described as one of the great literary writers of the 20th century and was recently a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in fiction. This new collection of short fiction is only the second in her rich career, and one that displays her strengths in the genre in many facets. Opening with two novella-length works, “Butter” and “Sophia,” this collection features Jones’s legendary talents in a range of settings and styles, from the hyper-realist to the mystical, in intricate multi-part stories, in more traditional forms, and even in short fragments.

Her narrators are women and men, Black, Brown, Indigenous; her settings are historical and contemporary, in South America, Mexico and the US; her themes center on complex identities, unorthodox longings and aspirations. She writes about spies, photographers, playground designers, cartoonists, and baristas, about workers and revolutionaries, about environmentalism, feminism, poetry, film and love, but above all about our multicultural, multiethnic and multiracial society.

Table of Contents

“Butter”: A novella

“Sophia”: A novella

“Screen Test”: A fragment

“A Spy Story”

“Garlic Bread”: A novella

“The Costume Maker”

“Worker”: A fragment

“Mirabeau”

“Jigsaw Sandals”

“Shuger’s Wife”

“The Female Angel”

“Horse Race”: A fragment

“Bathtub Gin”: A fragment

“The Historian, the Actress, and the Playwright”

“Ravenna”

“The Horse-Believing Woman”

“The Lost Stories”: Fragments
Jazz People
Abstract Fiction
Cultural Pluralism
Sweet Marsala
Rainbow People
The Elephant, or Totem and Taboo
The Gingerbread Man: An Experiment
Wooley Boatman
Stephan and Pilar
Mrs. Marsipan
Aunt Jane’s Dream

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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