California Literary Review

African American

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

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February 8th, 2009

Yet when an author treads into specific territories, the ground becomes awfully muddy. We’re happy to let writers play around with being a Roman slave of the first century or a prostitute of the eighteenth, but when it comes to depicting a person who has lived through the Holocaust or the Civil Rights era, ah, then I think we hesitate. Does an author, even in the services of fiction, have a right to appropriate these stories?

A Mercy by Toni Morrison

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December 16th, 2008

That’s it. Truly. That’s the plot. But to say that is all there is to it is like saying the Vietnam Memorial is just a black wall. There are an infinite number of stories in this book, with each new character’s narrative throwing light onto unexpected sides of the people we thought we knew. When Morrison takes us into a world, we do not visit it; we inhabit it.

T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting Discusses Hip Hop’s Attitude Toward Women

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June 15th, 2007

“The title was inspired by Snoop Dogg. It captures the ethos of the new gender politics I explore in the book–which is essentially that women are disposable, exchangeable, throwaway commodities to charismatic males who bond around keeping them “down” or in their place.”

Sister Rosetta Tharpe and the British Blues Revival

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June 11th, 2007

Interest in Rosetta in Britain was part and parcel of a larger trend: the postwar blues revival, which saw the emergence of a white public who “sought a heightened reality in the realm of black American song.”

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