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Danielle Evans is widely acclaimed for her blisteringly smart voice and x-ray insights into complex human relationships. With The Office of Historical Corrections, Evans zooms in on particular moments and relationships in her characters’ lives in a way that allows them to speak to larger issues of race, culture, and history. She introduces us to Black and multiracial characters who are experiencing the universal confusions of lust and love, and getting walloped by grief—all while exploring how history haunts us, personally and collectively. Ultimately, she provokes us to think about the truths of American history—about who gets to tell them, and the cost of setting the record straight.
I randomly picked up The Office of Historical Corrections by Danielle Evans and it accompanied me as an ebook and eaudiobook on my trip to St. Thomas. The Office of Historical Corrections is a collection of short stories. All seven stories were engaging. The collection has 6 short stories and 1 novella. Although each one has its own distinctive narrative, they do examine similar themes but they do so through different, and at times opposing perspectives. Evans navigates the experiences of Black people in white America.
Throughout this collection, Evans touches on themes of injustice, forgiveness, history (a character’s personal history as well as a nation’s history), freedom and identity, grief, loss, fear, failed relationships, and human connection.
Most of the time, the novellas felt too short for the depth of story Evans was trying to convey. However, after every story, I was left pondering and rethinking the themes in the story.
Some of the short stories just kind of ended and I wanted just a few more answers than the open ending left, but that’s more of a personal preference.
I enjoyed all the short stories; however, there were a few that stood out.
There are so many things to love about this collection: Evans’ focus on women and the thorny relationships they can have with one another, the wry humor that underlines these stories. Evans captured diverse and nuanced emotions so effortlessly. This is a fantastic collection and you should definitely give it a try.
If you read the collection of short stories, which one(s) were your favorite?
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This was one of my favorite books of 2020!
It was a great book. Really wanted some of the short stories to continue.