2014 Rewind: 15 Best Works of Fiction by Black Authors
How do you speak when you speak of our literature? Do you say “African-American authors” and leave out the brilliant work of Zadie Smith, Helen Oyeyemi and countless others who are African but not American? Do you say “writers of African descent” and ignore the legacy of Edwidge Danticat, Jamaica Kincaid, Tiphanie Yanique and other writers from the Caribbean? Do you say “black authors” without pause to think about how this term relates to authors from Mexico, Brazil and other Latin American countries who are black but who identify as Latino?
Any terminology is inherently flawed, just as any “best of” list is inherently flawed, by necessity forcing unequal comparisons and leaving out beautiful, important voices. There were many impressive books written by our people this past year, but here, from a list of more than 200 novels, we highlight 15 books that stunned for specific reasons of their own.