American Histories: Stories by John Edgar Wideman

Into the Wild

American Histories: Stories Read Online Free - In this singular collection, John Edgar Wideman, the acclaimed author of Writing to Save a Life, blends the personal, historical, and political to invent complex, charged stories about love, death, struggle, and what we owe each other. With characters ranging from everyday Americans to Jean-Michel Basquiat to Nat Turner, American Histories is a journey through time, experience, and the soul of our country.

“JB & FD” reimagines conversations between John Brown, the antislavery crusader who famously raided Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, and Frederick Douglass, the abolitionist and orator, conversations that belie the myth of race and produce a fantastical, ethically rich correspondence that spans years and ideologies. “Maps and Ledgers” eavesdrops on a brother and sister today as they ponder their father’s killing of another man. “Williamsburg Bridge” sits inside a man sitting on a bridge who contemplates his life before he decides to jump. “My Dead” is a story about how the already-departed demand more time, more space in the lives of those who survive them.

Navigating an extraordinary range of subject and tone, Wideman challenges the boundaries of traditional forms, and delivers unforgettable, immersive narratives that touch the very core of what it means to be alive. An extended meditation on family, history, and loss, American Histories weaves together historical fact, philosophical wisdom, and deeply personal vignettes. More than the sum of its parts, this is Wideman at his best—emotionally precise and intellectually stimulating—an extraordinary collection by a master.

Title : American Histories: Stories
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 1501178342
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 240 pages


Kasa rated it ★★★★★

December 07, 2017

This is an amazingly strong collection of stories examining the African American experience from multiple points of view. Employing a wide range of voices, these stories vary in length, but most share a quality of extraordinary depth not usually as consistent in other collections. There is not a...

Lou rated it ★★★★★

March 20, 2018

There is Toni Morrison, there was Ralph Ellison, Maya Angelou and William Faulkner, then there is now this writer you can read John Edgar Wideman, with this short narrative form done so well. Great accumulative sentences and prose style within, many voices in the various narratives, ones of loss,...

David rated it ★★☆☆☆

March 11, 2018

This book is difficult to read. I don't mean “difficult to read” in the sense that it is a portraying a reality too horrible and too injustice to contemplate, although the reality that it is attempting to portray is indeed horrible and unjust. It is difficult to read in the sense that it is often...

Casey rated it ★★☆☆☆

March 17, 2018

I received a free Kindle copy of American Histories by John Edgar Wideman courtesy of Net Galley  and Simon and Schuster, the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review on Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and my fiction book review blog. I also posted it to...

Bert rated it ★★★★☆

April 20, 2018

A book of high and lows the highs overpowering the less worthy parts. What stands out for me, a white person which is relevant in Wideman’s universe are the stories about an imagined interchange between the Abolitionist John Brown and the black philosopher Frederic Douglas, the confessions of Nat...

Melissa rated it ★★★★★

March 22, 2018

In American Histories, Wideman brilliantly exploits a “threefold ordering of times”, offering the reader a story in the time of its narrator, the time in which the narrative takes place, and in historical time. In the first story of American Histories, John Brown and Frederick Douglass debate the...

Mary rated it ★★☆☆☆

April 13, 2018

I'm always very interested in John Brown, so got this book bc of his "conversation" with Frederick Douglass. I read thru most of that first section and looked at other sections. Didn't care for freestyle prose. Not what I was expected, but obviously my shortcoming, not Wideman's.

Anne rated it ★★★★★

March 26, 2018

Wow. Powerful stories. I read one in an anthology and it inspired me to read more. I've been missing out, and at the same time I'm glad that I have a lot of Wideman's work to look forward to reading.

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