The Office of Historical Corrections
In Office of Historical Corrections, six short stories and one novella are weaved together into one breaking masterpiece of writing. Each story distinctly different and brilliantly compelling in its stance. I didn’t know what to expect from this author, but she has turned me into a fan. Usually, when reading a work of short stories, something is lacking. There is one or two in the book that don’t quite make the mark. This was not at all the case here, and every story was a hit. They also seemed to build on each other becoming more involved and more gripping than the one before.
Without giving away too many spoilers, I will say that each story’s narrative was different. Although the themes were similar in portraying the experiences of what it is to be Black in America, the stories did so by making challenging situations relatable, giving the reader a powerful plot and sharp commentary on race and class.
My Favorite Story
One of my favorite stories in the collection is ‘Boys Go to Jupiter.’ In this story, a white college student, Claire, is labeled as racist after her near boyfriend posts photos of her wearing a Confederate bikini he gave her on spring break. As opposed to apologizing for the picture and recognizing what the flag stands for, she chooses to stand on the side of, why is this a big deal, claiming it’s part of her heritage. We learn about the sadness that plagued her childhood, her mother’s subsequent illness and death, and her role in the death of a black friend. It becomes less about the fact that she did this and more about why through denial and grief.
Each of the stories in the collection hit this way. Stories that range from drug trafficking and needing something to hold onto to feelings of love through desperation, self-worth, family ties over the years, understanding where one comes from to find direction, and more. Other than ‘Boy’s Go to Jupiter,’ I also loved ‘Anything Could Disappear’, and the title novella ‘The Office of Historical Corrections,’ as each of them struck me in a way that will stay with me for a while to come.
There’s a lot of love here in words that play on themes of injustice, freedom, history, identity, grief, loss, relationships, and all of what it means to be a human. I highly recommend picking up a copy.