This collection of essays is completely brilliant.
I went to my local library (which is generally a giant mess, and more specifically a homeless person hangout) to get a new library card and pick up some books I had on hold. I decided to quickly scan the shelves (there aren’t that many) to see if there were any other books I could grab for this reading challenge while I was there and this was one of the first books I saw. I feel it was fate.
If you’d like a quick primer on Collins, in 2016 her daughter Nina Lorez Collins shares with Vogue Magazine how she brought her mother’s work out of an old steamer trunk and back in front of audiences so it could finally be appreciated.
A never-before-published collection of stories from a brilliant yet little known African American artist and filmmaker, Kathleen Collins.
Humorous, poignant, perceptive, and full of grace, Kathleen Collins’s stories masterfully blend the quotidian and the profound in a personal, intimate way, exploring deep, far-reaching issues—race, gender, family, and sexuality—that shape the ordinary moments in our lives.
Collins’s work seamlessly integrates the African-American experience in her characters’ lives, creating rich, devastatingly familiar, full-bodied men, women, and children who transcend the symbolic, penetrating both the reader’s head and heart.via back cover
I had heard of Kathleen Collins before (the first Black woman to make a feature film) but other than a few factoids, I knew nothing of her life and the works she created mostly because she died so young. The very first essay in the book “Exteriors” (available to read using the “Look Inside” feature” which I highly suggest you do) draws you in instantly to the creativity and wit of this incredible artist. I wanted more from each and every story because she creates such a clear and vivid scene of these characters and their lives. Their voices are unique to themselves and also familiar to you as a reader. Zadie Smith says in one review that it felt like you were eavesdropping on their lives and I totally agree.