First Lines From 9 Standout Short Story Collections by Writers of Color in 2014

Yesterday I wrote a post about novels by people of color I read in 2014, most of which I haven’t seen in any end of the year list circulating on my Facebook feed. It was lovely to end the year with that post, which was appreciated by my small, but growing community of readers, and brought these books to the attention of many who don’t really read this blog of scattered thoughts. So, I thought I’d start 2015 with a list of first lines from 9 short story collections written by people of color I read last year. I started this list with a collection of Octavia Butler’s stories because. That’s the end of that sentence.

Unexpected Stories by Octavia Butler

Unexpected Stories by Octavia Butler

1. “The Rohkohn Hao, Tahneh, was sharing her evening meal with her chief judge and discussing the current drought when she first learned of the foreigners who had entered her territory.”

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Africa 39 Edited by Ellah Affray

Africa39 Edited by Ellah Wakatama Allfrey

2. “On the day a plane crashed in Nigeria, the same day the Nigerian first lady died, somebody knocked loudly on Ukamaka’s door in Princeton.” (yes, I know it’s not really a short story collection, it’s an anthology, with some standalone novel excerpts, but it is so, so good)

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Noon Tide Toll by Romesh Gunesekera

Noon Tide Toll by Romesh Gunesekera

3. “Every time I drive across the causeway to Jaffna, I feel I am entering another country.”

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How Does a Single Blade of Grass Thank The Sun by Doretta Lau

How Does a Single Blade of Grass Thank The Sun by Doretta Lau

4. “MY FUTURE SELF SENDS me a text message at least once a day.”

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Cowboys and East Indians by Nina McConigley

Cowboys and East Indians by Nina McConigley

5. “In Chennai, paradise could be found on every road.”

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A Killing in the Sun by Dilman Dila

A Killing in the Sun by Dilman Dila

6. “Japia and a two year old boy were starving under an orange grove.”

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Fullblood Arabian by Osama Alomar, Translated by C.J. Collins

Fullblood Arabian by Osama Alomar, Translated by C.J. Collins

7. “The first, wistfully: ‘If only I were a fullblood Arabian horse!'”

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Natural Histories by Guadalupe Nettel

Natural Histories by Guadalupe Nettel

8. “Our last red fish, Oblomov, died yesterday afternoon.”

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The Corpse Exhibition: And Other Stories of Iraq  by Hassan Blasim, Translated by Jonathan Wright

The Corpse Exhibition: And Other Stories of Iraq by Hassan Blasim, Translated by Jonathan Wright

9. “Before taking out his knife he said, ‘After studying the client’s file you must submit a brief note on how you propose to kill your first client and how you will display his body in the city.”

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