Weird Black Girls: Stories (Paperback)
From Philip K. Dick Award finalist Elwin Cotman, an irresistibly unnerving collection of stories that explore the anxieties of living while Black—a high-wire act of literary-fantastical hybrid fiction.
A rural town finds itself under the authoritarian sway of a tree that punishes children. A pair of old friends navigate their fraught history as strange happenings escalate in a Mexican restaurant. A pair of narcissistic friends wreak havoc on an activist community. An aloof young man finds himself living through his lover’s memories. And a day of LARPing takes a cosmic turn.
In each of the seven stories in this collection, characters pursue their obsessions on paths to glory and destruction while around them their worlds twist and warp, oscillating between reality and impossibility. On display throughout is Cotman’s ability to reveal truths about the human experience—about friendship, love, betrayal, bitterness—through whimsy, horror, and fantasy. Elegiac in tone, imaginative and humorous in their execution, the character-driven stories in Weird Black Girls challenge, incite, and entertain.
About the Author
Elwin Cotman was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where the post-industrial landscape greatly influenced his love for myth and adventure. He is the author of three prior collections of speculative short stories: The Jack Daniels Sessions EP, Hard Times Blues, and Dance on Saturday, which was a finalist of the Philip K. Dick Award. Cotman holds a BA from the University of Pittsburgh and an MFA from Mills College.
"[Cotman] utilizes magical conceits and pop culture references to probe America’s legacy of racism in this striking collection…The distinctive and troubled characters make these stories stand out. Cotman’s versatile talents are on full display." —Publishers Weekly
"Splendidly strange...the stories are gleefully genre-busting...yet their invention is always grounded in the tangible struggles the characters face...an epiphany about our shared American reality that is all the more startling for its brutal familiarity...a must-read."—Kirkus
“Homeboy can write. There’s absolutely no doubt about that. And not afraid to nerd out either. With Weird Black Girls, Cotman stellarly bursts open the thread of Black space in fiction. A landmark collection!” —Sidik Fofana, author of Stories From the Tenants Downstairs
“Elwin Cotman is a brilliant writer, full stop, and Weird Black Girls is his best book yet. Essential reading.” —Elizabeth Hand, author of A Haunting on the Hill and Generation Loss
"Elwin Cotman's fiction is genius. Weird Black Girls is full of wry, fantastical twists that are always surprising, always illuminating. I'm enraptured by his writing, his every paragraph rich in wisdom and wit, his stories somehow rough and refined both, a brilliant mix of perversity and common sense, of the sacred and the profane."—Timothy Schaffert, author of The Swan Gondola