Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires

Heads of the Colored People

Calling to mind the best works of Paul Beatty and Junot Díaz, this collection of moving, timely, and darkly funny stories examines the concept of black identity in this so-called post-racial era.A stunning new talent in literary fiction, Nafissa Thompson-Spires grapples with black identity and the contemporary middle class in these compelling, boundary-pushing vignettes.Each captivating story plunges headfirst into the lives of new, utterly orig...


Details Heads of the Colored People

TitleHeads of the Colored People
ISBN9781501167997
Author
Release DateApr 10th, 2018
PublisherAtria / 37 INK
GenreShort Stories, Fiction, Cultural, African American, Race, Contemporary
Rating

Reviews Heads of the Colored People

  • Hannah
    1970-01-01
    I knew I would enjoy this pretty much from the first page on. Nafissa Thompson-Spires has a wonderful tone and an even better command of her stories. I found the stories uncomfortable and biting and so very very clever. Her characters feel real if often difficult and the situations they find themselves in are frustrating and perfectly rendered.Some stories feature the same people again, which is something I always enjoy. I do like how this gave t...
  • Gabriella
    1970-01-01
    I’m pretty sure this book is 4.5-5 stars, but we all know how I like to change my ratings from week to week. :) In just under 200 pages, Heads of the Colored People microscopes the inner workings of some hilarious and troubled black characters. I think my favorite stories are in the middle of the collection, an interconnected set of tales about grating Jack & Jill mothers, and the insecure daughters they produce. These women are self-absorbed, ...
  • Rod-Kelly Hines
    1970-01-01
    What an utterly original collection! This may be the best short story collection I've ever read, it spoke directly to me, about things I've never seen represented in literature, as it concerns the lives of Black people in America.
  • Andre
    1970-01-01
    Although my initial reaction to this collection of stories was blasé, upon futher contemplation I went to four stars. The collection is centered on Black identity and the heaping of satire is heavy here and the humor is plentiful. The story Belles Lettres, which has two mothers exchanging notes through their daughters backpacks is side-splitting funny. Be careful reading in public, lest folks think you a little off for laughing loud alone with a...
  • Angelia Menchan
    1970-01-01
    This book is entertaining and thought provoking. At turns dry, acerbic and oddly sweet. They stories linger in the readers mind, long after reading.
  • Kimberley
    1970-01-01
    There are books that leave me wondering “what the heck did I just read?” Heads of the Colored People is most certainly that type of book. It’s a collection of short stories centering on the black experience, as it relates to the individual, with environmental and social factors acting as the intrusion, as opposed to the catalyst, to their overall well-being.I finished it, with mixed emotions, and then almost gave it a much lower rating. How...
  • Ifeyinwa
    1970-01-01
    While I recognize the author's talent, I had a hard time emotionally connecting & resonating with the characters. I was more in awe of the uniqueness of the stories than engaged with the writing. There were a few stories that I loved, but most felt detached.
  • S.
    1970-01-01
    A couple of the stories fell flat but I hadn't seen such a sharp dissection of black people in academia before. Thompson-Spires writing has a wicked humor but tenderness for all of her characters, which she builds by showing us the characters over a long period of time. Belles Lettres had me *dying.* A really powerful collection that explores what's really in our "heads"—what demons, ghosts, hopes, failure, and loves reside there.
  • Amaka
    1970-01-01
    I am a huge fan of Nafissa’s storytelling! I laughed out laugh, literally; struggled to understand some of the characters irrational decisions, ultimately realizing that’s the beauty of these people’s stories. Everyone is going through something and I realized early on that I really do love each and every character. Randolph’s feud with Isabela over the office lights had me cracking up. Jilly’s story struck a nerve; knowing that her dea...
  • Vnunez-Ms_luv2read
    1970-01-01
    Outstanding read!!! Wonderful stories. I loved how some of the stories weaved together from one to the other. My favorites were the letter written between two women about their daughters, and then the stories about the daughters themselves. This section read like a mini novel and I would not mind reading a full novel about the moms, Fatima and Christina. These stories are titled: "Belles Letters", :Fatima, the Bioquist: A Transformation Story" an...
  • Desiree
    1970-01-01
    Pretty good collection of stories centered around mostly black women that tackles a whole bunch of issues like race, class, identity, suicide, mental health, grief etc. Belles Lettres was hilarious. I could not stop laughing throughout that letter exchange. The next few stories after that ended up being a continued narrative focused on one of the daughters (referenced in the letters). Overall, I like that Thompson-Spires handles her characters wi...
  • Gabrielle
    1970-01-01
    4.5 stars. I love short story collections, but they often disappoint me - until now. Heads of the Colored People is an excellent debut collection and offers thought provoking commentary on contemporary culture. So many of the stories made me laugh uncontrollably while others made me sit and think for a while. Thompson-Spires is a creative: her stories address race, class, mental health, ableism, and more but she writes about them with subtlety. T...
  • Julia
    1970-01-01
    I really enjoyed this collection of stories. I was hooked by the first story and moved by so many. I loved the diversity of the characters and their stories. The topics tackled were original, well written and educational. I laughed out loud, clenched my fists and found my eyes watering at times. Great book.
  • Roman Clodia
    1970-01-01
    ...by 1998 Fatima felt ready to become black, full black, baa baa black sheep black, black like the elbows and knees on praying folk black, if only someone would teach her. An uneven collection of short stories about blackness, class and gender in contemporary America. Thompson-Spires primarily focuses on educated, middle-class, black women and their children which offers some freshness of perspective. Overall, though, I found these were more vig...
  • Audra
    1970-01-01
    What can I say about this book of short stories. They were weird. Shocking and weird. So much so that I had to keep reading to find out what happened next. I like how some of stories were connected by the same character(s). I think my favorite story was Belles Lettres. I truly laughed out loud throughout the whole thing. The author captured the raw human emotions that we go through when dealing with all the things that life throws our way. I real...
  • Nicole O
    1970-01-01
    The characters within these stories are varied, flawed, and VERY human (for lack of a better description), and it makes for a fairly enjoyable read. I can't say that I necessarily relate to most of the characters in this book, but it's refreshing to see people of color portrayed in ways outside of the stereotypical "sidekick" or "servant" tropes that tend to permeate books with AA characters. While some of the stories did intersect, I appreciated...
  • Melanie Wiggins
    1970-01-01
    I really enjoyed this short story collection for so many reasons. First, and most importantly, it normalized blackness in a way that I haven't seen in awhile. The characters had issues both tied to and not tied to their race. I also loved how the stories weaved in and out of each other. Some of them were a little anti-climactic, but the writing style was very detailed, humorous and engaging. This book made me fall in love with short stories.
  • Barbara McEwen
    1970-01-01
    I enjoyed this short story collection. I think some of the stories are stronger than others but they are all original. It is a whole new point of view or multiple I guess since you get insight into the heads of all different types of characters who have being black in common.
  • Kitty
    1970-01-01
    Beautiful, sad, funny short stories about African-American experiences and lives. So good, please check it out. The last one is TOUGH.
  • Michael Logan
    1970-01-01
    Stunning debut collection. Dark. Witty. Hilarious. The best story collection I've read this year.
  • Hillary
    1970-01-01
    Jaw-dropper.
  • Jacob
    1970-01-01
    this is stellar. ridiculously, enchantingly good. i sped through each story metaphorically or physically agape at what she was doing and how. i wish no one had ever used the word genius in the history of the world so that it could be invented for this book and for nafissa thompson-spires, with/alongside a full understanding of the labor poured into her CRAFT.
  • Melissa
    1970-01-01
    Another outstanding short story collection for 2018. Thompson-Spires has bookended darkly comic and satirical stories about being black in America (including one about two feuding mothers who communicate through notes in their daughters’ schoolbags and another about an able-bodied woman who develops a fixation on men with physical disabilities - I found this to be ingenious commentary about white men who fetishize/objectify women of color) with...
  • Sarah
    1970-01-01
    This has got to be one of the best short story collections I've read yet. Conceptually, it's a web of vignettes about African Americans and their varied experiences and perspectives. This is my first time reading Thompson-Spires, and I love her style. It's at times darkly humorous, other times dramatically haunting. Stories like "The Necessary Changes Have Been Made" and "Belle's Lettres" exemplify Thompson-Spires' unique humor. I loved how some ...
  • Sarah
    1970-01-01
    I've tried a few short story collections recently but I haven't finished any of them, so it's saying something that I read this book in its entirety in one day.I really liked it. I didn't love it, because I never really connected to it, but I liked it a lot.I recently read Francine Prose's Reading Like a Writer and she addressed a question I've had about modern writing and how to write about technology when it's constantly changing. How do you ad...
  • Joe M
    1970-01-01
    A funny and sharp-witted debut! The author calls these "sketches," which explains their sheer readability, but the diversity of characters, and the way their lives are woven together throughout this collection presents a much larger and more interesting picture than that descriptor might suggest. The stories have a wide range—from bickering university professors, a battle of letters between two mothers, to a funeral singer, a downward spiral in...
  • Chaitra
    1970-01-01
    Absolutely in love with this gem of a book. None of the short stories wear out their welcome, none are too abrupt, all of them are unique. Or at least I haven't read any black experience literature that sounded like this book. It's bleak, of course - the first story speaks of two senseless black deaths by cops, and the last one is about a funeral singer who makes a boatload of profits because there are so many of them, but she's super depressed a...
  • chantel nouseforaname
    1970-01-01
    The last story “Wash Clean the Bones” was some of the most disturbing things I’ve read in awhile and reads like a modern retelling of Toni Morrison’s Beloved. The entire series of stories was awesome. As a debut effort it makes me excited to read whatever Nafissa Thompson-Spires puts out in the future. The shit where the moms were hitting each other with those hella aggressive letters was a highlight for me. So funny. Reminded me of a cra...
  • Morgan Schulman
    1970-01-01
    I had resisted this one for a long time because I’m just not a fan of short stories, but I’m glad I could finally caved because everyone and their grandmother was recommending this book to me. It’s amazing. The author writes about identity in such a clever and understatedly humorous way I didn’t feel like eating my literary vegetables, as reading short story collections can often do. As a mom, a therapist, and a therapist’s kid, I LOVED...
  • Toni Johnson
    1970-01-01
    This was a refreshing read. What a pleasure! Thompson-Spires has a distinct, original voice that's as adept with comedy and social satire as it is with heart-wrenching, dramatic portraits. So impressive. I don't often want to re-read books (there's so many unread!), but I will likely re-read these stories. They're that good!