Black Jesus and Other Superheroes: Stories

Black Jesus and Other Superheroes: Stories

Black Jesus and Other Superheroes: Stories

Black Jesus and Other Superheroes: Stories

Synopsis

Winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction, Black Jesus and Other Superheroes chronicles ordinary people achieving vivid extrasensory perception while under extreme pain. The stories tumble into a universe of the jaded and the hopeful, in which men and women burdened with unwieldy and undesirable superhuman abilities are nonetheless resilient in subtle and startling ways.

Venita Blackburn's characters hurl themselves toward the inevitable fates they might rather wish away. Their stories play with magic without the sparkle, glaring at the internal machinations of the human spirit. Fragile symbols for things such as race, sexuality, and love are lifted, decorated, and exposed to scrutiny and awe like so many ruins of our imagination. Through it all Blackburn's characters stumble along currents of language both thoughtful and hilarious.

Excerpt

After school I arrived at home, took off my shoes at the door, kissed the 8x10 photo of black Jesus in the hall, ate Froot Loops over the sink so Nana wouldn’t scream if I spilled milk on the carpet, and then watched tv. I used to watch this cartoon with beasts that turned to stone in the daytime and came alive at night. This was my ritual, my afternoon ceremony of duty, love, and magic. the previous Christmas my Nana came to live with us, my mother and me. in Los Angeles Christmas can be deceiving, but I loved it anyway. I dreamt of cotton snow and the oily smell of plastic holly. Authenticity never made much sense really. All that is real is what is in front of us, if the satisfaction is absolute. Aluminum icicles over the porch satisfied me deeply. Nana, not so much. I killed her, so she says, but she says everything killed her even though she’s as alive as a dog bite.

Nana was smaller than me even then, a granddaughter of slaves, and knew life without electricity and frozen waffles. She knew other things too, especially about cows, not just milking them, I’d done that at the L.A. County Fair; she could deliver their babies and cure their sicknesses. When Nana first entered the house she had nothing but her long strapped leather purse, a brick-thick Bible, and that photo of the darkest Christ I’d ever seen. She didn’t have a suitcase or anything. I asked my mother, “Why did Nana have to come?” She . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.