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Shaking the Tree: A Collection of New Fiction and Memoir by Black Women written by Meri Nana-Ama Danquah


Shaking the Tree: A Collection of New Fiction and Memoir by Black Women written by Meri Nana-Ama Danquah


Showcasing the newest generation of black women writers, including ZZ Packer, Edwidge Danticat, and Shay Youngblood, Shaking the Tree gathers twenty-three voices that came of age in the wake of the civil rights, black arts, gay rights, and feminist movements. Their literature embodies the tragedies and triumphs of contemporary black women in their struggle to negotiate a sense of individual identity beyond the limited scope of gender and race.

Shaking the Tree offers a panorama of both fiction and memoir, revealing perspectives as diverse as they are dynamic: asha bandele recounts how she fell in love with a prisoner charged with murder; Rebecca Walker explores a childhood split between disparate racial and cultural landscapes; ZZ Packer remembers her near-abduction from summer camp at a time when local black children were being found murdered; Danzy Senna and Carolyn Ferrell tell tales about being young and biracial in a society that sees only in black and white.

This anthology is as urgent as it is historical—these voices are the future of American literature.


"Not since Breaking Ice has an anthology so freed the spirits of African American women."—Ai

Library Journal

There is a common thread that connects these mostly memorable selections. All of the voices are young, writing primarily about relationships: between a wife and her imprisoned husband; a sister and her jailed brother; interracial couples; a lesbian couple; a mother and her daughter; and more. These are not new stories as the subtitle implies but rather excerpts from larger works, with the exception of a personal essay by ZZ Packer called "The Stranger." Among the gems are asha bandele's "Home," with her thoughts on why she became a prisoner's wife; Danquah's memoir revealing her bout with depression; Dana Johnson's "Markers," an interesting tale involving a black woman living with an Italian man and their volatile life together; Lisa Jones's autobiographical essay on her trip to the Bahamas and her discovery regarding color, class, and race; Catherine E. McKinley's piece on growing up biracial with her Scotch-Irish adoptive parents; Itabari Njeri's obsession with and love for a hopeless womanizer and how she got revenge when he broke her heart; and Shay Youngblood's novel about a black woman living in Paris as an au pair and falling in love with a white musician. Though admirable, with some excellent contributions, this anthology would have soared with more original material. Recommended for most public libraries.-Ann Burns, "Library Journal" Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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Title: Shaking the Tree: A Collection of New Fiction and Memoir by Black Women

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