Counternarratives by John Keene

An enslaved girl's (correct) prophecies are read as madness by the whites around her. Jim, decades after his trip with Huck down the Mississippi River, encounters the boy again on a Civil War battlefield. Olga Kaira, a black acrobat who appears in a Degas painting, speaks her own piece.

This story collection, one of the best I’ve read in years, presents moments from North and South American literary and cultural history, reimagined from somewhere far from power.

Keene's sense of form is breathtaking—the stories turn inside out, snap shut on the reader, take sudden, dazzling twists that on reflection were inevitable. This experimental writer and poet's sentences reflect his almost crazed love of language. It’s also a good deal more fun to read than I’m making it sound. (New Directions)

About the Author

Phil Christman teaches English at the University of Michigan and attends St. Clare's Episcopal Church in Ann Arbor, Mich.