We tend to call fiction 'short' when it’s not a novel, but the six stories in Dance on Saturday are long, deep and rich, each so thoroughly engrossing and distinctive in its style that I had to take long breaks between them. The stories I enjoyed least...tend to favor accumulation and excess in a way that made me feel like the butt of an obscure joke, while the ones I loved (all the rest) favor depth of feeling and character, foreground care more than swagger. Rooted in contemporary cityscapes and mythic pasts, with affects ranging from melancholy optimism to humor to horror, this collection is a sensuous, polyphonic feast ... Karen Russell’s cover blurb praises Cotman as 'a synthesizer … of lewd dialect and high lyricism.' I’ll speak instead of Cotman’s high dialect and lewd lyricism, of how his fashioning of character voices is superbly disciplined, lit from within, while his lyricism is the realm of bawdy jokes and opacity, a kind of literary trolling. 'She was tall and wide like a sonnet,' one character notes — and you’ll just have to trust me on the contrast with the bawdy bits, none of which my editor will let me cite.
Cotman...wields biting wit, powerful emotion, and magic large and small throughout these six superlative stories ... Cotman utilizes genre conventions to examine racism, sexism, power imbalances, and hypocrisy ... The title story is the strongest, imagining a group of immortals with the ability to extend their lives by growing and consuming fruit, in prose that ranges from humorous...to lyrical ... Readers will be blown away by this standout tale, which grapples with the responsibility of holding power, and whether that power can, or should, be shared. Cotman’s bold and timely speculative fiction marks him as a writer to watch.
The stories in this inventive collection take familiar premises from fantasy—a king's precocious son gets into trouble, immortal beings pine for prior centuries and invigorate them with elements of black and African American cultures: The king rocks multicolored kente robes, and the undying crack up at BET's ComicView. The result is a refreshing take on favorite tropes, and the stories are fun and full of humor ... Additional, tiny details accumulate like breadcrumbs, making an unexpected turn to the otherworldly totally surprising and yet absolutely fitting ... Fun, inventive fiction that refreshes the fantasy genre with elements of black heritage and culture.