The world doesn't require you : stories

by Rion Amilcar Scott

Hardcover, 2019




New York : Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2019.


Established by the leaders of the country's only successful slave revolt in the mid-nineteenth century, Cross River still evokes the fierce rhythms of its founding. In lyrical prose and singular dialect, a saga beats forward that echoes the fables carried down for generations--like the screecher birds who swoop down for their periodic sacrifice, and the water women who lure men to wet deaths.Among its residents--wildly spanning decades, perspectives, and species--are David Sherman, a struggling musician who just happens to be God's last son; Tyrone, a ruthless PhD candidate, whose dissertation about a childhood game ignites mayhem in the neighboring, once-segregated town of Port Yooga; and Jim, an all-too-obedient robot who serves his Master. As the book builds to its finish with Special Topics in Loneliness Studies, a fully-realized novella, two unhinged professors grapple with hugely different ambitions, and the reader comes to appreciate the intricacy of the world Scott has created--one where fantasy and reality are eternally at war.Contemporary and essential, The World Doesn't Require You is a "leap into a blazing new level of brilliance" (Lauren Groff) that affirms Rion Amilcar Scott as a writer whose storytelling gifts the world very much requires.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member lisapeet
This is a collection of short stories and one novella, set in Scott's invented town of Cross River, MD, site of the only successful slave uprising. The stories here are all deeply concerned with race and racism, and Scott pulls from an unusual toolbox to tell them—sf/fantasy, folklore, and some very dark social satire—to also take on religion, music hierarchies, sexism (particularly the idea of women's erasure by men), blackface/minstrelsy, and academia, which gets a whopping big twist of the knife. These are really smart, dark, and definitely challenging. They shift shape even within a single story—the novella is a bricolage of changing first-person narrative, email, essay drafts, and a syllabus—and while reading, they sometimes felt overly diffused. But there's no denying their power, and they've stuck in my head since I finished. This isn't an easy or outright entertaining book (though it certainly serves that purpose), but it's fascinating and worth reading and, though I hate to make this distinction, probably important.… (more)
LibraryThing member chrisblocker
Sometimes you get it, and sometimes you just don't.

I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book several months before it came out, and I was excited. This looked like it was going to be a fabulous read.

And sadly, I just couldn't get into it. There are always some clunkers in short story collections, but story after story in this collection bored me to no end. There was something in the style that kept me at a distance and failed to entertain or educate me.

And that was odd, because this collection seemed like it would have so much going for it. And I can't explain why it didn't exactly.

There were two exceptions in this entire collection: "... Knockers" and "Special Topics in Loneliness Studies." The latter was a novella length piece that was actually quite compelling. These two left me with a desire for more from this author, but knowing I could end up with stories that run the gamut, I'm hesitant to reenter this world.

In the end, this fairly short collection took me more than six months to read. I took long breaks after finishing each story and dreaded coming back. Perhaps I shouldn't have continued to press on, but that's a lesson for another book.
… (more)
LibraryThing member mhartford
Funny, sad, playful, transgressive; this is a wild ride of a book, with the stories interlocking, undermining, and augmenting each other in fascinating ways.



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