Review: Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? by Kathleen Collins

whatever-happened-toSource: Library  
Publisher: Ecco
Series: –
Edition:
 Ebook, 192 Pages
Genre:
 Literary Fiction/ Short Stories
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository
Rating: 2/5

Now available in Ecco’s Art of the Story series: a never-before-published collection of stories from a brilliant yet little known African American artist and filmmaker—a contemporary of revered writers including Toni Cade Bambara, Laurie Colwin, Ann Beattie, Amy Hempel, and Grace Paley—whose prescient work has recently resurfaced to wide acclaim

Humorous, poignant, perceptive, and full of grace, Kathleen Collins’s stories masterfully blend the quotidian and the profound in a personal, intimate way, exploring deep, far-reaching issues—race, gender, family, and sexuality—that shape the ordinary moments in our lives.

In “The Uncle,” a young girl who idolizes her handsome uncle and his beautiful wife makes a haunting discovery about their lives. In “Only Once,” a woman reminisces about her charming daredevil of a lover and his ultimate—and final—act of foolishness. Collins’s work seamlessly integrates the African-American experience in her characters’ lives, creating rich, devastatingly familiar, full-bodied men, women, and children who transcend the symbolic, penetrating both the reader’s head and heart.

Both contemporary and timeless, Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? is a major addition to the literary canon, and is sure to earn Kathleen Collins the widespread recognition she is long overdue.

Whatever Happened to Interracial Love is a collection of short stories by the late Kathleen Collins, with stories that revolve around being black. While the stories themselves have a timeless quality to them that I thought really worked in their favor, I will say that I had some issues with the style they were written.

Short story collections will always be a hit or miss gamble for me and this one was no different. These all have the same style to them that can only be described as ‘stream of consciousness’ and for some stories, this really works well…for others however it seems to work against the story itself. I will admit to expecting a bit more in how it would handle interracial relationships, given the title and the fact that I am the child of one such relationship. So in that angle, I was fairly disappointed, but I did appreciate the look into the messy way life moves. We see characters who struggle with identity, love, and depression and I think that several of the stories like The Uncle really shine.

Sadly this is a book that took me a long time to read especially when considering it’s short page length. The water-like flow of thoughts onto the page only served to make some stories move slower. It would touch briefly on the point, being to expound upon it only to veer a bit off course. The writing style does lend itself to hidden depths however and it’s definitely a collection to read more than once.

I feel this review is probably as hot and cold as my feelings about the collection itself. I didn’t hate anything but I can’t say I could recommend the whole collection either. It falls into this weird gray area for me and I’m rather glad I didn’t purchase it as I was tempted to do before I found it at the library.

2 stars

 

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One Response to Review: Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? by Kathleen Collins

  1. What a bummer you didn’t love this. I have a hard time with reading short stories. I have a Jo Jo Moyes book on my TBR that is short stories and I am dragging my feet at starting it. Hope your next read is better.

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