Butter Novellas, stories, and fragments

Gayl Jones

Book - 2022

"A wide-ranging collection, including two novellas and ten stories exploring complex identities, from the acclaimed author of Corregidora, The Healing, and Palmares"--

Saved in:

1st Floor Show me where

FICTION/Jones Gayl
1 / 1 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
1st Floor FICTION/Jones Gayl Checked In
Short stories
Boston : Beacon Press [2022]
Main Author
Gayl Jones (author)
Physical Description
pages ; 22 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Jones' dazzling return after a long hiatus with several recent releases, including The Bird Catcher (2022), continues apace with this collection of new and revised novellas, fragments, and short stories as varied and diverse as the settings and the characters who inhabit them. As in her previous works, National Book Award finalist Jones explores expansive themes through the perspectives of richly drawn, fascinating characters who are often out of place and time. The titular novella portrays a photographer, Odelle, who encounters her famous mother for the first time as an adult. We travel backwards through Odelle's memories and with her in the present as she contemplates her various relationships, including with her absent, yet perpetually influential mother. The final part, "The Lost Stories," contains snippets that at once feel like the beginnings of longer works and simultaneously perfectly worded glimpses into lives in medias res. There is a dreamlike quality as we enter the minds of these characters that is inviting and effective. Even in the briefest of fragments, Jones injects enough detail to create a fulfilling story. In "A Spy Story", the characters meet and gather over a dinner of stew and in four short pages, as is true for the collection as a whole, the reader is left feeling full and satisfied.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Jones follows her Pulitzer shortlisted The Birdcatcher with a collection of glorious stories and rough fragments. The long title story follows Odelle, a photographer and mixed-race daughter of the vaunted British war photographer Remunda Eadweard as she prepares to photograph Remunda, who was absent for much of her childhood. In "Sophia," the eponymous married narrator leaves the U.S. for some "elbow room" in Spain, where she recalls her youth among leftist revolutionaries in Mexico ("When I was with them, I suppose, for the first time I felt like a real person"). In Spain, a man follows her, and Jones coyly suggests he might be a private investigator hired by Sophia's husband. There is wit and more hints of intrigue in "A Spy Story," a brief sketch of an encounter between two Black women at a Connecticut farmhouse, one of whom is rumored to have been a spy during the Algerian War. When the narrator, a safety consultant for playgrounds, says, "People are always surprised I'm Black," the rumored former spy responds, "Welcome to the club." Among the 11 fragments, "Cultural Pluralism" sticks out for Jones's sympathetic if clunky attempt to give voice to a young Vietnamese woman whose Black American father brings her to the U.S. in the 1980s. For the most part, though, these stories sing. This is a gift for Jones's fans. (Apr.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved