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Whatever Happened to Interracial Love?

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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. In The Uncle, a young girl who idolizes her handsome uncle and his beautiful wife makes a haunting dis 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. In The Uncle, a young girl who idolizes her handsome uncle and his beautiful wife makes a haunting discovery about their lives. In Only Once, a woman reminisces about her charming daredevil of a lover and his ultimate—and final—act of foolishness. 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. Both contemporary and timeless, Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? is a major addition to the literary canon, and is sure to earn Kathleen Collins the widespread recognition she is long overdue.


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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. In The Uncle, a young girl who idolizes her handsome uncle and his beautiful wife makes a haunting dis 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. In The Uncle, a young girl who idolizes her handsome uncle and his beautiful wife makes a haunting discovery about their lives. In Only Once, a woman reminisces about her charming daredevil of a lover and his ultimate—and final—act of foolishness. 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. Both contemporary and timeless, Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? is a major addition to the literary canon, and is sure to earn Kathleen Collins the widespread recognition she is long overdue.

30 review for Whatever Happened to Interracial Love?

  1. 5 out of 5

    Roxane

    Elegant collection of stories. Fascinating to read fiction from a black woman about blackness in the early 1960s. There is a real edge, a slyness to many of the stories. And there is always a moment in each story where you realize the work Collins is doing beneath the skin of the story. The title story, in particular, is a masterpiece.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jaidee

    4.34 " sophisticated, groovy, urban, remarkable" stars !! BOOK THAT I WISH MORE OF YOU WOULD READ AWARD FOR 2017 This collection of short stories blew my socks off. Kathleen Collins was a black playwright, film-maker and activist. She died much too young at the age of 46 from breast cancer. This is her only collection of prose and was published posthumously in 2016. Do yourself a favor and pick a copy up. Many of my gal pals will be getting this for their birthday...that's for sure. Dudes this b 4.34 " sophisticated, groovy, urban, remarkable" stars !! BOOK THAT I WISH MORE OF YOU WOULD READ AWARD FOR 2017 This collection of short stories blew my socks off. Kathleen Collins was a black playwright, film-maker and activist. She died much too young at the age of 46 from breast cancer. This is her only collection of prose and was published posthumously in 2016. Do yourself a favor and pick a copy up. Many of my gal pals will be getting this for their birthday...that's for sure. Dudes this book is for you too !! Ms. Collins writes about black academic middle class women that are mostly urban in the 1960s. She explores themes of identity, love, family, equality and discrimination both between races and importantly within race. She writes with a sophistication and elegance that kept me breathless. I will remember many of these stories not just for their content but for their rhythms, emotions and deep knowledge of a particular sub type of black women that we need to understand more. I was particularly interested on the experience of the mixed race women and black women that love white men. Her conversations are vivid, meandering, sexy and spiritual. She does not tell you much about her characters but you can infer so much by what they say, what they do and how they live. I fell in love with each of these black and mixed race women and appreciated their struggles, their elegance, their refinement. I laughed at some of their antics, shook my head at their cruelties both given and received, and empathized passionately with their experiences. Ms. Collins understands people and sees the good in them even when they behave badly. I am also amazed that out of sixteen stories only one was average (2.5 stars). The rest were excellent, unforgettable or superb. This is no small feat and I will return to these stories in time and relive and cherish these stories again and again. Compassionately and with wisdom, Ms. Collins broadens and deepens societal understanding of a sub group of black women that struggle not only with race and gender but are sometimes looked down upon by others in their own group for their intelligence, wealth, achievements and feminist viewpoints. In my typical fashion I will name the story, rate it and give a little snippet. 1. Exteriors...4.5 stars sharp and true 2. Interiors.... 5 stars one of the most sincere laments of a husband and wife 3. The Uncle... 4 stars the magic and selfishness of chronic sorrow 4.How does one say...4 stars illicit and sexy and affirming 5. Only once....4.5 stars true and gorgeous 6. Conference Parts 1 and 2...4.5 stars poetic and sad black girl blues 7. Whatever Happened to Interacial Love...5 stars unbelievably vibrant and optimistic Here is a quote from story "... He does not seem to understand the shape of the world to come. He does not seem to understand that the young colored woman he has spawned does not, herself believe in color: that to her the young freedom rider of her dreams is colorless (as indeed he is) that their feelings begin where color ends (as indeed they must), that if only he could understand that race as an issue, race as a social factor, race as a political or economic stumbling block- race is part of the past. Can't he see that love is color free? She is close to tears. The gray bourgeois eyes remain fixed in her mind..." 8. Happy Family.... 4.5 stars breathtakingly sad A quote: " Even now if I feel myself walk into that apartment, a sharp painful nostalgia grips me. Life took on so much color you felt you were at the center of the universe, every good thing was possible, every good feeling was alive and well, every foolish part of yourself could come to the surface without fear of hurt of disapproval. It was marvelous. I tell you it was marvelous !" 9. Treatment for a story.... 4 stars sex and love and cousins 10. Stepping back.... 4.5 stars Black lives and European culture 11. When Love Withers All of Life Cries... 5 stars a love affair between two black artists...simple and profound 12. Broken spirit....4.5 stars what happens after brief love affairs A taste "Sometimes I felt like we made love inside a vacuum that must have been his loneliness. Sometimes I felt like were inside his cool, graceful humor. Only once did I feel we broke all the way through to each other" 13. Documentary...2.5 stars could have been something but wasn't 14. Lifelines....4 stars love letters and new beginnings 15. Of poets. galleries and new york passages....4 stars charming little artistic dinner party in nyc 16. Dead Memories, Dead Dreams....5 stars light skinned blacks discriminate and punish their dark skinned son in law A remarkable achievement from a woman that died much too young. Thank you Ms. Collins.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Maxwell

    Kathleen Collins sadly died at the age of 46, never seeing her own work published. In fact, it went unpublished for close to 30 years after her death, and this collection was only recently released, bringing together stories from her archives. Her daughter sifted through her works and put together an anthology of stories looking at black lives, especially those of women dealing with life, love, and sexuality. They are incredibly modern stories; I mean that if you gave me this collection and told Kathleen Collins sadly died at the age of 46, never seeing her own work published. In fact, it went unpublished for close to 30 years after her death, and this collection was only recently released, bringing together stories from her archives. Her daughter sifted through her works and put together an anthology of stories looking at black lives, especially those of women dealing with life, love, and sexuality. They are incredibly modern stories; I mean that if you gave me this collection and told me it had been written in the past year, I wouldn't be surprised. Collins touches on universal experiences of love, infidelity, romance and identity, and writes about it in such a way that is incredibly relevant. Though I didn't love all of the stories, I found something to enjoy in all of them. I particularly liked "Only Once", "The Happy Family", "Lifelines," and "Dead Memories...Dead Dreams." Those alone are worth the price of admission.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Simon

    Just finished this. A pretty damn appropriate book to be reading right now. An incredible collection of short stories from the 1960's that feel current and poignant. They all also have several ways in which they could be read and each has a little twist to surprise you. Incredible. Do read. Just finished this. A pretty damn appropriate book to be reading right now. An incredible collection of short stories from the 1960's that feel current and poignant. They all also have several ways in which they could be read and each has a little twist to surprise you. Incredible. Do read.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    I don't really know what I expected when I started reading this book.  My only connection to the author was that I had seen the movie "Losing Ground" which I found quirky and odd.  I thought the title of the book was interesting though a bit misleading in terms of actual content and theme.  What I didn't expect was a to find a book written for a cerebral black woman.   Let me tell you, it's a bit like sighting a unicorn.  I was taken aback by its meaningfulness and relevance to me personally.  H I don't really know what I expected when I started reading this book.  My only connection to the author was that I had seen the movie "Losing Ground" which I found quirky and odd.  I thought the title of the book was interesting though a bit misleading in terms of actual content and theme.  What I didn't expect was a to find a book written for a cerebral black woman.   Let me tell you, it's a bit like sighting a unicorn.  I was taken aback by its meaningfulness and relevance to me personally.  Here are other points of view that don't necessarily revolve around unfaithful/abusive men, a woman who makes tremendous self-sacrifice for a man/her children/her parents, a woman who despite overwhelming odds overcomes insurmountable obstacles but is really just like you and me.  Nope. Collins has done something entirely different here. While life is happening around you, what goes on in your head?  (view spoiler)[ Exteriors - Interesting, very short vignette written like a scene in a play of a breakup. the directions include lighting and fog machines. Not a play, like the person in the story is writing the scene in her head as she goes through the breakup. 4 Stars Interiors - This story is a bit of an extension of the first story about what is going on in the minds of a married couple whose marriage is falling apart. Very introspective and these really are a catalog of thoughts. First his point of view then hers. In this story the black man in is self-centered and self serving, taking full responsibility. The woman is more introspective/less self-centered. It strikes me that perhaps only a thinking woman would give such a selfish man the edit here. There is a search for redemption. An attempt to justify a choice after the union goes bad. That BTW is a read between the lines for me. The story is much more straight forward. 4.5 stars Uncle - Interesting tale of an uncle who survived on his looks then that dependence seemed to lead to a depression at the emptiness of his life and lost potential. Collins tales are ethereal. As if all of this is taking place in her mind. She paints a world in which this attractive man believes he is entitled to a prosperous and easy life because he is incredibly handsome. His wife somehow also operates on this theory. When this doesn't materialize without effort, he spirals into a debilitating depression. His family still entranced by his beauty is unable to understand his disposition and because they are superficial, they are ill equipped to help him. Powerful story 4.5 Stars How Does One Say - A schoolgirl crush at a French immersion school. Collins does get into the minds of her characters. A story of first love with Collins pointing out that exotic intelligence can be irresistibly attractive. 4.5 Stars   Only Once - brief story about utter infatuation with an inappropriate choice and how women get it in their minds that this is a once in a lifetime connection. A choice that seems to repeat over and over again throughout their lives. 4.25 Whatever happened to Interracial Love? - The title story is about several interracial couplings in the midst of 1963 civil right movement specifically freedom riders and lunch counter sit ins. Collins writes about thoughts. These are the thoughts of people in the story and outside looking at the story. The main couple of this group is of a white male and a black woman. After being a freedom rider and becoming engaged, the male discovers that he can't go against his upbringing and marry a black woman. The story chronicles their relationship and her relationships with black men and the differences. It also show cases the opposite with a coupling of a black male with a white woman, to a more long term coupling. I'm having an internal debate about what Collins is inadvertently attempting to say here. Is she saying that women tend to be the heart and strength in a relationship or is she commenting on the patriarchy and how culturally/customarily men have are not and cannot have the responsibility of cultivating and nurturing relationships? In the 60s, black women are just beginning to become empowered to affect a successful relationship. One of my favorite in the collection 5 Stars Conference: Parts I and II - One woman two very different relationships also during civil rights era. 4 Stars" The Happy Family - Another great one in which Collins examines couples and their relationships with the immediate families of the couples. Insight into the phrase "they come from happy families" of course there is no nuance in that very vague description. Collins examines the idea of what goes into that ambiguous term and how different interpretations go on and indeed must go on in the heads of women. 4.25 Stars Treatment for a Story - Diagram of a tryst. Interesting and told more from a "physical" rather than an emotional venue. Tales told from the point of views of aroma, tactile and taste. From the senses, if you will. This one feels experimental. Very brief and also very interesting. 4 Stars" Stepping Back - an intellectual woman meets the man of her dreams and in a whirlwind almost sleeps with him but stops almost literally at the bed when she ponders the kind of person such an act would make her. Not a puritanical tale, but a tale of black female sexuality and its role in history. Though I understand what Collins was trying to do here, I don't think it was entirely successful. Specifically, by the end of the tale, I wasn't quite sure why it would have been such an act of betrayal of Black womanhood to give in to her sensual attractions. 3.5 Stars When Love Withers All of Life Cries - Diagram of a relationship when the love is dying for no discernible reason. The need to pretend and when one person finally acknowledges that they are done trying. 4 Stars Broken Spirit - straight forward tale of a love affair with a journalist who covers war torn/life threatening situations (adrenaline). In his downtime he seems more stable. Very short story about what happens from the point of view of his very temporary lover. 4 Stars Documentary Style - an inside look at a black cameraman and how he protects and defends the footage he shot. He's extremely paranoid and has obvious esteem issues due to his race and skin tone. A bit of an odd but interesting tale. One of self hatred and the need for adoration and to prove oneself. The need for those intangibles from light-skinned people as a sort of affirmation that he is worthy. This is a tale of racism and misogyny. I don't find Collins as compelling in inhabiting these frames of reference. I think the writing of the story was an attempt to understand, but it just comes across for me in a negative way. But then again, the main character is completely unlikable--which was the intent. On second thought, maybe this story was entirely successful. It just made me uncomfortable because I know folks just like this. 4 Stars Lifelines - A little different. A marriage falls apart due to incarceration (white collar crime). As the wife attempts to go on with her life, he is released. They acclimate to life apart but he keeps hinting at his partial ownership of the material things in her life. This is a slow moving storing of a couple dividing up their life amicably for the most part. This tale was a bit lumbering and not quite as emotional as many of the others in the collection. It's also one of the most cerebral. 4 Stars Of Poets, Galleries, New York Passages - an evening with upper crust artists (intimate friends) in NYC talking about perceptions, and dreams and reality. An interesting dynamic. 4 Stars Dead Memories...Dead Dreams - This was another powerful one with the politics of skin color and its hierarchy in black families. Here a young girl learns of her family legacy. Her mother flouted family norms and married a very dark skinned man for love. Her family shuns her. She dies in child birth and her father gives her to her maternal grandmother while he becomes a mortician. His business is death which is lucrative but looked down upon. After 3 years he regains custody of his daughter and she visits her grandmother every summer. Because the daughter grew up with her father, she doesn't understand the disdain regarding skin color that her mothers family holds. She also doesn't understand that what propelled her father to success in the mortuary business was his desire to prove himself worthy to her mother's family. Both sides of her family are harmed by their own notions and prejudices regarding skin color, but her own generation is oblivious. I loved this story for pointing out the entrenchment of these ideas in American culture and well as the superficialities associated with these notions. This one resonated for me with my dark skinned mother (who is one of the smartest people I know) being initially disregarded by my father's the family (they adore her now, some 55 years later) for her being too dark. Me growing up completely oblivious to the differences. Black is black, shades of black don't matter. 5 Stars (hide spoiler)] One of my reading challenges has a task that is to read something that reminds you of home. For me this could be it. Collins writes about Black women. Women with frailties and faults. Women who are sensual, who love and disdain and forgive. Most of all she writes about women who think. Deeply. That's me!! And wow if that isn't a breath of fresh air. 4+ Stars with a dash of "More like this please" Read on kindle

  6. 5 out of 5

    Latanya (Crafty Scribbles)

    Ms. Collins skewers race, sex, sexism, dreams, dead or alive, academia, and capturing one's truth permeate this lovely short story collection. Favorites The Uncle - Beyond every smile lives pain...5/5 How Does One Say - Short. Sensual. French. 5/5 Whatever Happened to Interracial Love - Various interracial couples find idealism rarely meshes with reality inside the melting pot 5/5 Documentary Style...Misogynoir wrapped in one's desire to succeed as a black man. The rest of the stories range from 3 Ms. Collins skewers race, sex, sexism, dreams, dead or alive, academia, and capturing one's truth permeate this lovely short story collection. Favorites The Uncle - Beyond every smile lives pain...5/5 How Does One Say - Short. Sensual. French. 5/5 Whatever Happened to Interracial Love - Various interracial couples find idealism rarely meshes with reality inside the melting pot 5/5 Documentary Style...Misogynoir wrapped in one's desire to succeed as a black man. The rest of the stories range from 3 to 4 for me and are well worth a linear read. Don't skip or wander. Read the stories as ordered. Ms. Collins died far too young. But, she left her mark as the first black woman to direct a movie hitting film festivals. What she didn't get to finish left her mark in the literary world.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Colleen Fauchelle

    I am not very good at reading short stories. I personally like reading long stories. But I really enjoyed these stories. They show what happens behind closed doors. They show you need courage to Live They show you need courage to love They show you need courage to stand up for what you believe in. They show no matter what colour we are, We need love, support and acceptance. I liked the first story 'Interiors' I read it out to my Husband and he said it was poetical. Just Beautiful. I am not very good at reading short stories. I personally like reading long stories. But I really enjoyed these stories. They show what happens behind closed doors. They show you need courage to Live They show you need courage to love They show you need courage to stand up for what you believe in. They show no matter what colour we are, We need love, support and acceptance. I liked the first story 'Interiors' I read it out to my Husband and he said it was poetical. Just Beautiful.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Book of the Month

    THE VIBE OF 1960S – ONE WOMAN’S TIME CAPSULE BY JUDGE ABBI JACOBSON At this point in time, I’m finding myself frustrated, concerned, lost and confused at the world around me. It seems like we’re all searching for answers and solutions and trying to find voices that ease our pain and make us feel less alone, even as we take extra care to be open to different points of view. Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? felt like I dug up a secret time capsule from the 1960s and opened it to find a collecti THE VIBE OF 1960S – ONE WOMAN’S TIME CAPSULE BY JUDGE ABBI JACOBSON At this point in time, I’m finding myself frustrated, concerned, lost and confused at the world around me. It seems like we’re all searching for answers and solutions and trying to find voices that ease our pain and make us feel less alone, even as we take extra care to be open to different points of view. Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? felt like I dug up a secret time capsule from the 1960s and opened it to find a collection of stories that made me feel. I think that’s what we look for in all content really, stories and pieces of other people’s experiences that make us feel. Sad, sexy, hopeful and honest characters fill Kathleen Collin’s beautiful book. And even though these stories were written decades ago, the issues and frustrations of her characters’ lives mimic where we are right now. Strong, bold, black women fill the pages, reminiscing on an important time in American history, much of which still holds true today. Every story shifts tone and point of view in a way that keeps you on your toes as a reader—wondering not only what’s next for each character, but what might be in store for you as well. Cinematic, visual, erotic, gentle and poetic are words that come to mind as I swirl around this collection. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for slivers of hope and beauty and detail. It’s for anyone who’s yearning for something, looking to get lost in other’s journeys to find themselves, immerse themselves in other’s regrets for a moment. I had never heard of Kathleen Collins before diving into her stories, and I later learned that this collection was discovered by her daughter many years after Kathleen’s death. Even so, her smart prose is specific and always changing, like she was constantly experimenting with who she was herself as a writer. I found her style immensely inspiring as a creator and as a woman.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Barbara (The Bibliophage)

    This collection of quiet, thoughtful stories is excellent. They offer an unvarnished picture of life in the 1960s, a time of unrest that straddled the ages. I happened to read the stories while I was also reading John Lewis's March Trilogy, and they are a wonderful complement to each other. Collins offers the perspective of an African American woman, yet never letting race be the entire story. The stories are also about friendship, love, family, and making your way in a changing world. I particu This collection of quiet, thoughtful stories is excellent. They offer an unvarnished picture of life in the 1960s, a time of unrest that straddled the ages. I happened to read the stories while I was also reading John Lewis's March Trilogy, and they are a wonderful complement to each other. Collins offers the perspective of an African American woman, yet never letting race be the entire story. The stories are also about friendship, love, family, and making your way in a changing world. I particularly love her descriptive language. For example, she says of one character "His children had grown up inside his sorrow." Or of the times, "It is a time that calls forth the most picturesque of metaphors, for we are swimming along in the mythical underbelly of America . . . there where it is soft and prickly, where you may rub your nose against the grainy sands of illusion and come up bleeding." I'm so glad this previously hidden work has come to light!

  10. 5 out of 5

    BookOfCinz

    Absolute must read Great commentary on black love, colorism and interracial dating in the 1960s. A solid collection of stories, my favorite being Stepping Back.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Steph

    There is a rebellious undertone in Collins’ work threading itself through each story. From the daughter who commits the “unforgivable sin of (“Negro”) girlhood” by cutting her hair and therefore turning herself into “any other Negro,” to the man who takes his own life, to the black middle-class girl from New Jersey agrees to marry her white lover in 1963 as they both naively confront the south and racial segregation, Collins presents unconventional resolutions that are not tidy, but instead a fo There is a rebellious undertone in Collins’ work threading itself through each story. From the daughter who commits the “unforgivable sin of (“Negro”) girlhood” by cutting her hair and therefore turning herself into “any other Negro,” to the man who takes his own life, to the black middle-class girl from New Jersey agrees to marry her white lover in 1963 as they both naively confront the south and racial segregation, Collins presents unconventional resolutions that are not tidy, but instead a form of rebellion from what each of these characters are expected to be from the outside looking in. Each character is trying to find themselves and it’s a journey that requires the painful task of rejecting the external labels which have been arbitrarily placed on them from white-supremacy ideas of blackness to their own black bourgeois community’s. In these rebellious internal resolutions Collins is calling for a deep introspection of us all. Her work reminds us that we are humans first and our journeys toward seeking higher levels of emotional and intellectual awareness begin with our individual selves first. Read more at: https://literarylovinlady.wordpress.c...

  12. 5 out of 5

    Subashini

    I loved it. The stories were written in the 70s and 80s but feel fresh, delicate, light-footed. The stories tell the emotional truth but they tell it slant. Collins' background as a filmmaker is evident; stories are told in monologues and sketches of a director setting up a scene. The stories are cinematic; the emotions are deep but its essence distilled into a character or a moment. It's like a camera utilising time jumps and moving through space, fluidly going back and forth between time, the I loved it. The stories were written in the 70s and 80s but feel fresh, delicate, light-footed. The stories tell the emotional truth but they tell it slant. Collins' background as a filmmaker is evident; stories are told in monologues and sketches of a director setting up a scene. The stories are cinematic; the emotions are deep but its essence distilled into a character or a moment. It's like a camera utilising time jumps and moving through space, fluidly going back and forth between time, the past existing alongside the present. The past not as a separate world, but very much alive in the present. The stories are short but contain a world of depth about racism and the inner lives of black women. And the humour is sly and delicious. Full review appears here.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Shirleen R

    4.5 - After Mar 25, 2017 reread: My favorite stories:"The Uncle", 'Only Once", Whatever Happened to Interracial Love?", " "Lifelines, "Dead Memories.. Dead Dreams" , and oddly enough, "Documentary Style" Kathleen Collins has a magnificent ear for dialogue whose humor felt light and natural, even when her intense subject wracks her narrators with pain. For example: Miriam and Ricardo's back and forth in "When Love Withers All of Life Cries". Collins alternates two lovers' memories of their courts 4.5 - After Mar 25, 2017 reread: My favorite stories:"The Uncle", 'Only Once", Whatever Happened to Interracial Love?", " "Lifelines, "Dead Memories.. Dead Dreams" , and oddly enough, "Documentary Style" Kathleen Collins has a magnificent ear for dialogue whose humor felt light and natural, even when her intense subject wracks her narrators with pain. For example: Miriam and Ricardo's back and forth in "When Love Withers All of Life Cries". Collins alternates two lovers' memories of their courtship and its demise. Her playwright's ear crafts a conversation that flows easily, until one lover hurts the other with memory. Then, quick, pivot, withdraw. (ex. Ricardo in "voice dry as a bon"e) Upon rereading I treasured also Kathleen Collin's style of saying without saying, she has the poet's gift of compression. In "Only Once," a brief story about a lover whose taste for risk intoxicates and seduces, until the My sole complaint is the way Kathleen Collins expresses her Francophilia. She incorporate French language, destination cities, food and cultural flourishes in several of her short stories. Her French objects signify a particular taste and comfort in high-class lifestyle. Never does Collins vary how she represents Afro-Franco sensibilities -- no indigent black migrants from Haiti or Cameroon, don't appear in her stories. Nor do any exquisite, French objects extracted via subjugating African subjects betray their colonial pillaging history . I do wonder if today Collins would revise or complicate this tic, . Perversely, the character to whom I related up until he commits a violent, unconscionable act is the black cameraman in "Documentary Style". He is the underdog artist who fights doggedly against white authority for ownership and credit over his creative project. He goes so far as to endanger another's creation to preserve his own, which sounds noble in fiction until I read horrified he went that far. . I will recommend this collection to others. Will put Kathleen Collins's film Losing Ground on my watch-list to see later this year.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    I had a hard time getting through this, which is a judgement on me as a reader rather than on Kathleen Collins as a writer. Her stories are completely different from anything I've read before, and I particularly loved the title story. But many of the others are short and not immediately digestible; I felt like I had to read each story, pause, and give myself some time before moving on. I found myself getting less out of them as I continued. This will work for someone in the right mindset and moo I had a hard time getting through this, which is a judgement on me as a reader rather than on Kathleen Collins as a writer. Her stories are completely different from anything I've read before, and I particularly loved the title story. But many of the others are short and not immediately digestible; I felt like I had to read each story, pause, and give myself some time before moving on. I found myself getting less out of them as I continued. This will work for someone in the right mindset and mood. It would be the perfect collection to take on some sort of outdoors weekend adventure. Favorite stories: Exteriors, Whatever Happened to Interracial Love?, Stepping Back

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ellie

    I'm embarrassed to admit that I had never heard of Kathleen Collins before reading this book. I looked her up and this is some of what Wikipedia had to say about her (forgive me, all of you who are better informed than I am and already know all this): "Kathleen Collins (March 18, 1942 – September 18, 1988) was an African-American poet, playwright, writer, filmmaker, director, civil rights activist, and educator. Her two feature narratives—The Cruz Brothers and Miss Malloy (1980) and Losing Groun I'm embarrassed to admit that I had never heard of Kathleen Collins before reading this book. I looked her up and this is some of what Wikipedia had to say about her (forgive me, all of you who are better informed than I am and already know all this): "Kathleen Collins (March 18, 1942 – September 18, 1988) was an African-American poet, playwright, writer, filmmaker, director, civil rights activist, and educator. Her two feature narratives—The Cruz Brothers and Miss Malloy (1980) and Losing Ground (1982)—furthered the range of Black women's films. Although Losing Ground was denied large-scale exhibition, it was among the first films created by a Black woman deliberately designed to tell a story intended for popular consumption, with a feature-length narrative structure.[1] Collins thus paved the way for Julie Dash's Daughters of the Dust (1991) to become the first feature-length narrative film created by a Black woman to be placed in commercial distribution." Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? is a collection of moving, vivid, intelligent stories about African-American women and men and race in the United States. Her stories are often bitter-sweet, with a great deal of humor overlaying sadness and/or pain. They involve black men gunned down by the police (in a meta-narrative with an ironic narrative voice), children struggling for their place in families and women struggling to find both relationships and artistic forgiveness, to list just a few examples. The title story is an often hilarious look at the civil rights movement in the 1960s as played out with a small group of characters, both white and black, seeking to enact freedom within personal lives and the success (or lack thereof) of their endeavors. I was particularly moved by the story of a child whose mother died shortly after her birth and her mother's family who struggle with the fact that the child (and her father) are darker skinned than the mother's family. This story, like the others, tackles major societal and racial issues within the small picture of an individual family's lives. There is not a false step in these stories. They made me sad while I also laughed. They are a major artistic feat. I hope I can see Collins' films as well. She is an important artist whose works deserve a larger audience. Her daughter brought these stories out just a few years ago; I hope there is more work to come.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Collins' writing is pure poetry. Collins' writing is pure poetry.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ally

    Born in 1942, Kathleen Collins was a groundbreaking filmmaker, artist, and writer - part of the generation of African Americans, many of whom who were "the firsts" in their fields. Her 1982 film Losing Ground was the first feature-length dramatic film directed by an African American woman. When she died from cancer in 1988, she left most of her documents and other works to her daughter, Nina. After years of pouring over this massive cache, Nina began working to get many of the pieces either reis Born in 1942, Kathleen Collins was a groundbreaking filmmaker, artist, and writer - part of the generation of African Americans, many of whom who were "the firsts" in their fields. Her 1982 film Losing Ground was the first feature-length dramatic film directed by an African American woman. When she died from cancer in 1988, she left most of her documents and other works to her daughter, Nina. After years of pouring over this massive cache, Nina began working to get many of the pieces either reissued, published, or otherwise sent out into the world. One example of this effort is the short story collection WHATEVER HAPPENED TO INTERRACIAL LOVE. The collection is composed of 16 stories of varying lengths, from as short as 4 pages to as long as 26 pages. In the story When All Love Withers All of Life Cries, the narrator of the story comments that, "the words are only icing; you keep going past the words you got nothing but surprises" (pg. 98), and this quote accurately sums up my feelings about all of the stories. I found that, no matter the length of the story, I was equally engaged, moved, and satisfied. This is quite a feat, considering that about half of the stories are 10 pages long or less. The way that the author illustrates her characters and her scenes has a lot to do with this, I think. Because of her background in film, she is able to masterfully "show" a scene without "telling" too much. The writing is clear and vivid, but without a trace of any extraneous language. This collection is constructed on an economy of words, but contains a wealth of emotion. There are many themes in WHATEVER HAPPENED TO INTERRACIAL LOVE, and many of them reappear in multiple stories, but in different ways. Some of the more prominent themes are gender roles (adhering to/denying), racial identity, socioeconomic class, beauty standards, romantic/family relationships (often breaking apart throughout the course of the story), artistic endeavors, friendships, and social justice. I was reminded of John Lewis' graphic memoir trilogy MARCH, because some of the short story characters travel from their homes in the North to help with efforts to register Southern African Americans to vote; those characters often suffering or bearing witness to violence against such efforts. One of the most groundbreaking points to take away from this collection is the lack of what is known as "white gaze". The narrators of the stories are all African Americans or other non-white characters. The scenes are so crafted that it might not be obvious to the reader at first, but there are no instances of a white character narrating an African American experience. Even in our modern literary culture, it's difficult to find examples of works that don't contain some degree of white gaze. For this concept to be considered groundbreaking is important, but also concerning, because it indicates a tradition of African Americans not being in charge of their own stories. Containing a range of settings, characters, stories, lengths, and themes - I found WHATEVER HAPPENED TO INTERRACIAL LOVE to be a completely satisfying reading experience. I was wholly engaged throughout each and every story, which is a difficult feat in and of itself. Considering the stories were written decades ago, many of the themes are just as relevant in today's society as they were at the time of their inception. Overall, I was thoroughly impressed with WHATEVER HAPPENED TO INTERRACIAL LOVE, and hope that the author's daughter Nina is able to have other stories published. I will read whatever else she has written.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Debbie Smyth

    I've never heard of Ms. Collins before and after reading this collection of short stories, l really mourn her death. These stories are a wonderful window into to the life of black intellectual women during the civil rights movement. Not tales of poverty and crime, but stories of educated women expected to succeed in a white world that is not expecting them. Issues of colorism, class, and social climbing and loss. Her writing style is clear and captivating. The story lines still seem current and I've never heard of Ms. Collins before and after reading this collection of short stories, l really mourn her death. These stories are a wonderful window into to the life of black intellectual women during the civil rights movement. Not tales of poverty and crime, but stories of educated women expected to succeed in a white world that is not expecting them. Issues of colorism, class, and social climbing and loss. Her writing style is clear and captivating. The story lines still seem current and fresh. So sad that there will not be more but happy that her daughter decided to share these wonderful stories with the world. Check out the link below for more about Ms. Collins and how these lost stories came to light. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/08/bo...

  19. 5 out of 5

    Asheley

    Pretty good collection of short stories. I think the stories in the first half of the book are better than those toward the end. The earlier stories felt stronger and held my attention better than the later stories. The title story "Whatever Happened To Interracial Love?" is a favorite, but I think "Interiors" is the best from this group. I appreciate the author's strong voice and I love her use of race and womanhood as themes. Pretty good collection of short stories. I think the stories in the first half of the book are better than those toward the end. The earlier stories felt stronger and held my attention better than the later stories. The title story "Whatever Happened To Interracial Love?" is a favorite, but I think "Interiors" is the best from this group. I appreciate the author's strong voice and I love her use of race and womanhood as themes.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Maggie

    First book of 2017. -- TFW Abbi Jacobson is the guest judge for Book of the Month Club: First book of 2017. -- TFW Abbi Jacobson is the guest judge for Book of the Month Club:

  21. 4 out of 5

    Morgan ***Books and Bougie***

    My God, what a wonderful set of short stories. Kathleen's beautiful language had me reading the same lines/passages/stories/words over and over again. She made me think of my own life more poetically. My vocabulary has improved for the better, but she also made me think. The title story was intense and hard for me to decipher. I had to Google an explanation and even then, people really couldn't put it into simpler terms. I think that's the beauty of Kathleen's work. It's ambiguous yet straightforw My God, what a wonderful set of short stories. Kathleen's beautiful language had me reading the same lines/passages/stories/words over and over again. She made me think of my own life more poetically. My vocabulary has improved for the better, but she also made me think. The title story was intense and hard for me to decipher. I had to Google an explanation and even then, people really couldn't put it into simpler terms. I think that's the beauty of Kathleen's work. It's ambiguous yet straightforward. There's space to put your own thoughts in between the lines. This book is full of tragedy, Blackness, womanhood, sexuality and joy. The first story literally made me gasp aloud, and it was only 3 pages long. If you like a quick read (but please, take your time with this one. Absorb her messages, her prose) then read this! I cannot emphasize it enough.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Darryl Suite

    “That day it was clear I should be off in Brazil climbing mountains, surf till a wave snaps my neck, rollerskate down some endless highway, keep fighting with my body, that’s the only time I see clear...everything else makes me sullen…” . This fiery collection of short stories written in the 70s never saw the light of day until decades after Kathleen Collins’ death (such a terrible shame). Collins died at age 46; she was a, playwright, civil rights activist, a pioneer in black female filmmaking, a “That day it was clear I should be off in Brazil climbing mountains, surf till a wave snaps my neck, rollerskate down some endless highway, keep fighting with my body, that’s the only time I see clear...everything else makes me sullen…” . This fiery collection of short stories written in the 70s never saw the light of day until decades after Kathleen Collins’ death (such a terrible shame). Collins died at age 46; she was a, playwright, civil rights activist, a pioneer in black female filmmaking, and much more. (Look her up). Ever finished a book and want to flip back to the first page and read again? My one regret is that I’ll never be able to recreate this surprising reading experience again. . Despite what the collection’s title would imply, this is not only about the exploration of interracial relationships. However, there are many deep observations delving into romantic relationships, how we can lose our way trying to be “something” for someone else or commit devastating acts in order to be that “perfect” mate for our partner. The most compelling element of this book is Collins’ writing craft. She has such an expressive and avant-garde manner of expressing ideas and moods. She occasionally uses interesting stylistic choices in manners of documentary, screenplay, and stream of consciousness style. Her writing feels very modern, postmodern even. . If you read the first couple of stories and you don’t gel with it, keep going: it’ll suddenly hit you in the jugular, and you’ll get on board with her style, and feel every ounce of pain and loss, every morsel of joy, every exhilarating moment of passion. Some stories stole my breath, only for a minute, because I needed to move onto the next story. I’ll leave you with this: “Sometimes I felt like we made love inside of a vacuum that must have been his loneliness. Sometimes I felt we were inside his cool, graceful humor. Only once did I feel we broke all the way through.”

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    2.75/5stars

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tien

    Needed a break after finishing Jazz. Then jumped into this book and loved every moment. Probably one of my favorite short story collections. Highly recommend reading it. Kathleen Collins is brilliant.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Valerie

    With this collection of stories, Kathleen Collins has captured feelings that were explored 50 years ago but still feel relevant today. She is witty and deliberate as she digs deep into several aspects of race, class, relationships, personal ambitions, and more. Learning from Nina Collins, the author's daughter, that most of the stories were autobiographical in some respect was especially interesting. This level of vulnerability and openness on subjects that are still often swept aside or spoken With this collection of stories, Kathleen Collins has captured feelings that were explored 50 years ago but still feel relevant today. She is witty and deliberate as she digs deep into several aspects of race, class, relationships, personal ambitions, and more. Learning from Nina Collins, the author's daughter, that most of the stories were autobiographical in some respect was especially interesting. This level of vulnerability and openness on subjects that are still often swept aside or spoken around is incredibly brave. It adds a personal connection to Kathleen and her struggles as a black woman navigating the 60s in America. I am grateful beyond reason that Nina shared this work of art with the public. I know I will be revisiting it time and time again.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    This newly published collection of stories is a short read, not breathtaking or beautiful, but important because of the freshness and rawness of her perspective. It seems unfiltered, unedited, but Collins' appreciation of people for being the multi-faceted, unique people that they are is evident. The stories sometimes read more like journal entries, and even include self-aware stream of consciousness moments. The setting and historical context are important to the stories, but not foundational. In This newly published collection of stories is a short read, not breathtaking or beautiful, but important because of the freshness and rawness of her perspective. It seems unfiltered, unedited, but Collins' appreciation of people for being the multi-faceted, unique people that they are is evident. The stories sometimes read more like journal entries, and even include self-aware stream of consciousness moments. The setting and historical context are important to the stories, but not foundational. In her own unconventional and sometimes strange ways, Collins normalizes intellectual introspection, not as a woman or as a person of color, but as a human.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nina

    This collection is full of smart + humorous commentary. I love how Collins comments on bougie black people or on the free-spirited, artistic husband who doesn't acknowledge his wife's labor or commitment. This is so much like her film, Losing Ground. I love it. And Collins is very attentive to language. Beyond her thinking, there's a pleasure in reading her words. Highly recommend. This collection is full of smart + humorous commentary. I love how Collins comments on bougie black people or on the free-spirited, artistic husband who doesn't acknowledge his wife's labor or commitment. This is so much like her film, Losing Ground. I love it. And Collins is very attentive to language. Beyond her thinking, there's a pleasure in reading her words. Highly recommend.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Karin

    Such a vibrant and original collection of stories focused on both race and relationships. Only Once, about a whirlwind relationship, was my personal favorite, and I also found interesting how she wrote about race in the title story. While the stories are very short she makes the characters come alive despite having only a few pages to do so. It's a shame she died so young, I would love to see her movie now. Such a vibrant and original collection of stories focused on both race and relationships. Only Once, about a whirlwind relationship, was my personal favorite, and I also found interesting how she wrote about race in the title story. While the stories are very short she makes the characters come alive despite having only a few pages to do so. It's a shame she died so young, I would love to see her movie now.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dea

    "...they could be tall tales full of shit, man, but the words are only icing; you keep going past the words you got nothing but surprises..." I just really, really liked this. "...they could be tall tales full of shit, man, but the words are only icing; you keep going past the words you got nothing but surprises..." I just really, really liked this.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Kathleen Collins was unknown to me before reading this book. She died young in her 40's, which limited her promising career. She was the first African American woman to direct a full-length film. Only one of her short stories was published during her life and she also wrote plays. She was a film history professor at City College, yet was unrecognized during her lifetime. The stories in this collection were gathered by her daughter. They provide a fascinating glimpse into relationships between rac Kathleen Collins was unknown to me before reading this book. She died young in her 40's, which limited her promising career. She was the first African American woman to direct a full-length film. Only one of her short stories was published during her life and she also wrote plays. She was a film history professor at City College, yet was unrecognized during her lifetime. The stories in this collection were gathered by her daughter. They provide a fascinating glimpse into relationships between races and the sexes in decades past. This remarkable collection would be of interest to those interested in the lives of black women, the 70's and 80's, and feminist writing. It made me aware what a tremendous loss her early passing was for all,

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