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Heads of Colored People Reviews

Heads of Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires

Heads of the Colored People

Nafissa Thompson-Spires

4.33 out of 5

3 reviews

Imprint: Chatto & Windus
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publication date: 9 Aug 2018
ISBN: 9781781090633

**Longlisted for the National Book Award for Fiction 2018**In this crackling debut collection Nafissa Thompson-Spires interrogates our supposedly post-racial era. To wicked and devastating effect she exposes the violence, both external and self-inflicted, that threatens black Americans, no matter their apparent success.

5 stars out of 5
Lucy Scholes
28 Sep 2018

"Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires — one size doesn’t fit all."

It’s an impressive feat. As a student of ethnography in “A Conversation About Bread” muses, “Didn’t every story provide a narrow representation at best and fetishise somebody at worst?” Thompson-Spires’s characters demand to be seen, and — even more electrifyingly — return the reader’s gaze, challenging our prejudices and assumptions. . . This is just a taste of how caustic Thompson-Spires can be. She writes satire of the Paul Beatty school, her humour as daring as it is disarming. This is a firecracker of a book, sizzling with politics, but it’s also a triumph of storytelling: intelligent, acerbic and ingenious.

Reviews

4 stars out of 5
27 Sep 2018

"Upper-middle-class black lives are mischievously dramatised in an American debut collection"

Some stories turn towards the macabre, such as a young woman’s fetishisation of an amputee. “Suicide, Watch” features a woman who is obsessive about updating her status on social networks. These coolly ironic and grimly funny tales brim with snap and verve, and this is a debut collection of daring and aplomb.

4 stars out of 5
14 Aug 2018

" even if not everything here works, you end the collection greedy to read whatever is coming next from this unmistakable talent"

Her electric style is extrovert, erudite and hugely entertaining, despite the often grim subject matter... Occasionally you feel the fizzing, self-interpreting voice is doing some heavy lifting in distracting us from how tightly these stories are fitted around punchlines or the revelation of a character’s repressed past... But more often, Thompson-Spires invigoratingly hits the mark... While the book’s targets can sometimes be obvious, as with This Todd, narrated by a domineering sculptor who disguises her fetish for amputees as an expression of empathy, the best tales here unspool outlandish scenarios pitched between comedy and tragedy. Even if not everything here works, you end the collection greedy to read whatever is coming next from this unmistakable talent.