Work has been keeping my very busy these last couple of weeks. I’m grappling with questions about my future and my job, all while trying to stay on top of myriad deadlines. In the midst of all of that, my book reviewing and blogging have fallen behind a little, so to make myself feel a bit better, here’s a mini review of a new collection of short stories.
Heads of the Colored People is a debut that simply blew me away, particularly the titular story, which is a true powerhouse (with a nod to Eudora Welty). Subtitled “Four Fancy Sketches, Two Chalk Outlines, and No Apology,” it plays with the fourth wall, turns readerly expectations upside down, makes you laugh, and then utterly guts you. I mean, seriously sucker punches you.
I picked up this collection of stories because of the provocative title and stayed for the sheer writerly talent contained within. Thompson-Spires’ narrative voice is so distinct, so self-assured, that it defies belief that this is her first book. Edgy but always accessible, she’s a new literary talent to be reckoned with. Put this book on the shelf with Junot Diaz and Roxane Gay, where it will be in good company. Seriously. Just buy this book.
Heads of the Colored People went on sale in the US yesterday, published by Atria, a division of Simon & Schuster. I read an advance reading copy provided at my request by the publisher. My coworker and I liked this book so much that we made it a selection for my store’s signed First Editions Club, and I am very much looking forward to meeting Nafissa Thompson-Spires in person at the end of this month.