Training School for Negro Girls
By Camille Acker
(The Feminist Press at CUNY)
With this impressive debut short story collection, author Camille Acker establishes herself as a gifted and agile writer with an assured and masterful voice. The collection is centered around the lives of ordinary residents of Washington, D.C., over the past several decades. From a young girl in the ’90s who is losing her older brother to forces that she doesn’t understand, to a motivational speaker’s spouse in the midst of a serious marriage crisis, Acker’s protagonists are modern African-American women and girls from a range of class backgrounds. Each one is finding her individual identity in her own way amid the complex historical social and racial strata of the nation’s capital.
Acker is a sensitive and skilled writer whose relatable slice-of-life fiction feels firmly grounded in reality. Her pacing and ear for dialogue are impeccable. Aside from one slyly satirical piece, the stories in this collection are earnest and direct, while narrated with intimacy and subtlety. Training School for Negro Girls is an exciting literary achievement by a significant emerging talent. This flawlessly executed work reinvigorates the short fiction genre. (5/5)
By Renate Robertson
Training School for Negro Girls was released October 9, 2018
This article originally appeared in the August/September print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!
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