What does it mean to take action? To bear witness? What does it cost?
In its portraits of families and friendships lost and found, the paradox of intimacy, the long shadow of grief, the meaning of home, Witness enacts its own testimony. Here is a world where fortunes can be made and stolen in just a few generations, where strangers might sometimes show kindness while those we trust--doctors, employers, siblings--too often turn away, where joy comes in snatches: flowers on a windowsill, dancing in the street, glimpsing your purpose, change on the horizon.
In these ten stories, each set in the changing landscapes of contemporary New York City, a range of characters--from children to grandmothers to ghosts--live through the responsibility of perceiving and the moral challenge of speaking up or taking action. Though they strive to connect, to remember, to stand up for, and to really see each other, they often fall short, and the structures they build around these ambitions and failures shape not only their own futures but the legacies and prospects of their families and their city.
With prose as upendingly beautiful as it is artfully, seamlessly crafted, Jamel Brinkley offers nothing less than the full scope of life and death and change in the great, unending drama of the city.
Jamel Brinkley is the author of A Lucky Man: Stories, which won the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence and was a finalist for the National Book Award, the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction, the Story Prize, the John Leonard Prize, and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. He has also been awarded an O. Henry Prize, the Rome Prize, a Wallace Stegner Fellowship, and a Lannan Foundation Fellowship. His work has appeared in The Paris Review, A Public Space, Ploughshares, and The Best American Short Stories. He was raised in the Bronx and in Brooklyn, New York, and currently teaches at the Iowa Writers' Workshop.
- Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (August 1, 2023)
- Language: English
- Hardcover: 240 pages
- ISBN-10: 0374607036
- ISBN-13: 9780374607036
- Item Weight: 1 pound
- Dimensions: 5.38 x 1 x 8.25 inches