The 13 stories in Ladee Hubbard’s new collection chart, with wisdom and sensitivity, nearly two decades of life in a Southern Black community ... Hubbard’s narration pulses with poeticism, although in its efforts to inform it can slip into the flat parlance of public-policy briefs. Still, the collection burns with unassailable truths, and many tales are less a lament than a roguish tribute to spirit and ingenuity.
Hubbard returns with this brilliantly rendered collection of short stories ... Every character is dynamic, every world easy to slide into. The collection examines class and race at the turn of the century and how the politics of the era oppressed working Americans. As it does in her novels, Hubbard’s deft hand for urgent fiction shines in every piece.
Short stories brimming with societal nuance and human complexity offer a penetrating overview of urban Black America near the turn of the 21st century ... Nothing seems lost or shortchanged in presenting this panorama of Black lives, whether disparities in social class, creeping gentrification, or the arduous, at times heroic efforts of even the poorest community residents to retain grace, decorum, and some autonomy over their surroundings. Hubbard’s eyes and ears are in superb working order as she tells this besieged community’s life story.
Hubbard’s sweeping linked collection (after The Rib King) follows a Southern Black community through decades of inequities and unrest ... Hubbard delves intriguingly into the complex feelings of the two women and their reactions to the situation along with other women in their lives, blending rich dialogue and various points of view ... The final story, 'Paulie Speaks,' brings a poignant and tragic end to the Moores’ story. Hubbard’s engaging chorus of voices and well-drawn cast make this resonate.