When you’re black and female in America, society’s rules were never meant to make you safe or free. In this “flawlessly executed work [that] reinvigorates the short fiction genre,” Camille Acker’s relatable yet unexpected characters break down the walls of respectability politics, showing that the only way for black women to be free is to be themselves (BUST).
In her debut short story collection, Camille Acker unleashes the irony and tragic comedy of respectability onto a wide-ranging cast of characters, all of whom call Washington, DC, home. A “woke” millennial tries to fight gentrification, only to learn she’s part of the problem; a grade school teacher dreams of a better DC, only to take out her frustrations on her students; and a young piano player wins a competition, only to learn the prize is worthless.
Ultimately, they are confronted with the fact that respectability does not equal freedom. Instead, they must learn to trust their own conflicted judgment and fight to create their own sense of space and self.