Cover image for Mending the world : stories of family by contemporary black writers
Title:
Mending the world : stories of family by contemporary black writers
Author:
Robotham, Rosemarie, 1957-
Publication Information:
New York, NY : BasicCivitas Books, [2003]

©2003
Physical Description:
xxiii, 290 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Language:
English
Contents:
Preface: Great expectations / Maya Angelou -- Foreword: Reflections on family / Pearl Cleage -- Introduction: Making up the truth / Rosemarie Robotham -- First light. Rachel / Tina McElroy Ansa ; The circling hand / Jamaica Kincaid ; The driving lesson / Gerald Early ; Holy Cross Hospital / Toi Derricotte ; Bright Thursdays / Olive Senior ; The myth of music / Rachel M. Harper -- Myth making. Ocean / Shay Youngblood ; The book of the dead / Edwidge Danticat ; Show business / Martha Southgate ; A son in shadow / Fred D'Aguiar ; On earth / Jacqueline Woodson ; Three sonnets for Mister Kent / Kendel Hippolyte -- The shifting self. The drill / Breena Clarke ; Dear Aunt Nanadine / Alexis De Veaux ; Who shot Johnny? / Debra Dickerson ; Going home / Janus Adams ; My daughter, once removed / William Jelani Cobb ; The feather / April Reynolds -- A taste of Eden. Sleeper's wake / Paule Marshall ; Aunt Delia / Valerie Wilson Wesley ; Uncle Raymond / Nelson Eubanks ; Brothers and sisters around the world / Andrea Lee ; China / Charles Johnson ; Will & testament / Malaika Adero -- Mending the world. Momma / Paulette Childress White ; Daddy / James McBride ; Counting breaths / Rosemarie Robotham ; The two of us / Alice Walker ; The good daughter / Rebecca Walker ; The box / Diane McKinney-Whetstone -- Permissions -- Bibliography -- Biographical notes.
ISBN:
9780465070626
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

The many facets of black family life have not always been fully visible in American literature. Black families have often been portrayed as chaotic, fractured, and emotionally devastated, and historians and sociologists are just beginning to acknowledge the resilience and strength of African American families through centuries of hardship. In Mending the World, a host of beloved writers celebrate the richness of black family life, revealing how deep, complicated, and joyous modern kinship can be.From James McBride's tender recollection of the man who claimed eight stepchildren as his own to Toi Derricotte's moving portrait of a pregnant teenager who decides to keep her child; from Debra Dickerson's lament over the shooting that crippled her nephew to Charles Johnson's whimsical look at a married couple's mid-life crisis; from Shay Youngblood's moving fictional evocation of a lost mother to poet Kendel Hippolyte's poignant telling of a father's unexpected legacy, this inspiring volume presents-through fiction, memoir, and poetry-a multi-layered and optimistic portrait of today's black America.Mending the World features fiction, personal memoir, and poetry by new writers (some publishing here for the first time) and established members of the canon.


Author Notes

Rosemarie Robotham is the senior Editor-at-Large of Essence magazine


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

This collection of fiction and nonfiction selections is meant to counterbalance images of black families as troubled harbors of all manner of social ills. The families featured here are celebrated for their love, faith, perseverance, and incredible resilience in the face of hardships from slavery and racism to more typical maladies that befall family life. The book is organized into five sections: childhood recollections, connections between elders and self-identity, outsider's perceptions, family wounds, and preserving kinship bonds. The collection includes an excerpt from Jamaica Kincaid's novel Annie John, Tina McElroy Ansa's story of a young girl with special gift who is empowered by the ghost of a slave woman, and Fred D'Aguiar's tale of a young man obsessed with constructing an image of the father he never knew from recollections of his parents' courtship. Also among the contributors are Edwidge Danticat, Rosemarie Robotham, Alice Walker, Maya Angelou, and James McBride. Readers interested in black literature and the sociology of the black family will appreciate this collection. --Vanessa Bush


Publisher's Weekly Review

Robotham, senior editor-at-large at Essence and author of Spirits of the Passage, here presents a preface from Maya Angelou ("we can all agree that our world needs mending") and a foreword from author and playwright Pearl Cleage ("This book is an important part of...understanding the power of love, the necessity of truth, and the possibility of rebirth"), and 30 short pieces of fiction and nonfiction that center on moments of care and understanding of one form or another among family members. Most have been previously published, and some will be familiar to regular readers of fiction and essays, such as the excerpt from Jamaica Kincaid's novel Annie John, Gerald Early's "The Driving Lesson," Edwidge Danticat's "The Book of the Dead" and Alice Walker's "The Two of Us." The pieces by younger writers (Robotham provides short bios) also feel familiar, but put enough of a twist on wayward male narratives (Nelson Eubanks, April Reynolds) and divorce (William Jelani Cobb) to hold interest. Robotham's goal of telling "the story of today's Black family" provides a clear, activist context that holds the book together, working to advance the title goal despite mostly tepid material. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Robotham's new thematic collection of fiction and essays by 30 of today's top African American writers reveals a full range of emotions regarding family. Divided into five sections, each highlighting an aspect of the family experience, this volume ranges from stories on the confrontation of loss among children to the ways families can hurt and perhaps heal each other. Authors like Charles Johnson, Alice Walker, and Paule Marshall will be familiar to most readers, but Robotham features a number of lesser-known writers just now breaking into the larger publishing scene, including Breena Clarke and Nelson Eubanks. The selections are generally brief, with little accompanying material, though Maya Angelou and Pearl Cleage contribute short introductory essays. A good introduction to new black writing, this complements Kevin Young's Giant Steps and Terry McMillan's Breaking Ice. Recommended for most public and academic libraries.-Anthony J. Adam, Prairie View A&M Univ. Lib., TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Table of Contents

Maya AngelouPearl CleageRosemarie RobothamTina McElroy AnsaJamaica KincaidGerald EarlyToi DerricotteOlive SeniorRachel M. HarperShay YoungbloodEdwidge DanticatMartha SouthgateFred D'AguiarJacqueline WoodsonKendel HippolyteBreena ClarkeAlexis De VeauxDebra DickersonJanus AdamsWilliam Jelani CobbApril ReynoldsPaule MarshallValerie Wilson WesleyNelson EubanksAndrea LeeCharles JohnsonMalaika AderoPaulette Childress WhiteJames McBrideRosemarie RobothamAlice WalkerRebecca WalkerDiane McKinney-Whetstone
Preface: Great Expectationsp. ix
Foreword: Reflections on Familyp. xiii
Introduction: Making Up the Truthp. xvii
First Light
Rachelp. 3
The Circling Handp. 20
The Driving Lessonp. 35
Holy Cross Hospitalp. 42
Bright Thursdaysp. 46
The Myth of Musicp. 64
Myth-Making
Oceanp. 69
The Book of the Deadp. 85
Show Businessp. 98
A Son in Shadowp. 111
On Earthp. 128
Three Sonnets for Mister Kentp. 137
The Shifting Self
The Drillp. 141
Dear Aunt Nanadinep. 147
Who Shot Johnny?p. 156
Going Homep. 161
My Daughter, Once Removedp. 165
The Featherp. 169
A Taste of Eden
Sleeper's Wakep. 187
Aunt Deliap. 197
Uncle Raymondp. 199
Brothers and Sisters Around the Worldp. 215
Chinap. 224
Will & Testamentp. 246
Mending the World
Mommap. 251
Daddyp. 252
Counting Breathsp. 260
The Two of Usp. 263
The Good Daughterp. 267
The Boxp. 272
Permissionsp. 285
Bibliographyp. 289
Biographical Notesp. 291