RaveThe NationHere is the brilliance of Collins’s work in all of its quietude: its turn within, its placement of the interior and subjective in the context of the social and political. Collins recognizes the power of those structures that remake everyday life, for better and worse, but she chooses instead to shine a light on the inner workings of complex souls ... The difficulties of relationships, the longing for love and recognition, the experience of forthright sexual encounters and betrayals, and the compulsive drive toward creativity—these are the engines that drive both her fiction and nonfiction forward. Like her diary entries and essays, her stories are peopled by figures who write, paint, design, read. Sometimes they are in conversation with each other, but most often we find them alone with their own thoughts ... It is a testament to her writing that we leave these volumes wanting more: more writing by her and more information about the works we do have. The stories do not need explanation and analysis; they do, however, call for more contextualization, which will be the work of a new generation of scholars, critics, and artists who discover Collins as a result of these collections.
Elaine M. Hayes
PositiveThe Washington PostThis comprehensive examination of Vaughan’s life and work benefits from Hayes’s technical knowledge of music and her thorough research on the historical context ... Following that crossover journey yields a solid narrative that documents Vaughan’s struggles, triumphs and unprecedented success as a 'symphonic diva, singing jazz in venues previously reserved for classical music and opera'...While useful for organizing a linear narrative of Vaughan’s career, one of the unfortunate limitations of this approach is a devaluation of the so-called obscure period ... Hayes does an especially good job of explaining the musical landscape of postwar white America ... while drug use and bad relationships are a reality, they do not dominate Hayes’s presentation of Vaughan’s life; they do not take away from the centrality and enormity of her talent and musical contribution. This is as it should be.