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3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  82 ratings  ·  12 reviews
In Amina Gautier’s Brooklyn, some kids make it and some kids don’t, but not in simple ways or for stereotypical reasons. Gautier’s stories explore the lives of young African Americans who might all be classified as “at-risk,” yet who encounter different opportunities and dangers in their particular neighborhoods and schools and who see life through the lens of different fa ...more
Kindle Edition
Published (first published September 15th 2011)
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Richard Thomas
Winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, At-risk (University of Georgia Press) by Amina Gautier is a heartbreaking, eye opening, and endearing collection of stories that focus on African-American children in turmoil. Fathers leave, or if they stay, fall apart—addictions and failure all around them. Mothers ignore, or distance themselves, pushing their own agendas. Brothers and sisters either die in the street or get out by whatever means is necessary. And somewhere in the shadows ...more
Raul Jr.
I loved this collection of short stories. The last time I enjoyed a collection this much was with FLannery O'Connor and Alice Munro.

The narrative voice immediately seduced me. By the end of page two, I found myself longing for Jason's Summers. I wanted to go to that track and watch those girls run around in those short shorts, and bump up against my friends and just chill and not worry about life or anything.

The characters in Gautier's stories are highly developed and coming of age--whether it's
This book was wonderfully compelling. Amina introduces us to many child characters, all of which are, in one way or another, "At-Risk," a label that is attached to them because of the environment that they live in and/or the adult's expectations of what they might become as they grow up. The irony behind Amina's work is very well crafted. Though the reader fully understands what is going on, Amina presents these stories from the mind of a child that cannot fully grasp the meaning behind what is ...more
Margaret Depaula
Excellent book, struck close to home with me as most of the stories take place in and around the area where I have worked for several years. I feel like I know these kids, that I have worked with many of them over the years and have looked into their lives and the situations that they were forced to deal with on a daily basis. Ms. Gautier captures this in a way that makes us feel that she too has looked into their lives and understands their pain and their triumphs!
I like story collections that seem of a set--connected by character or place or time or theme. Gautier's collection focuses on youths in Brooklyn, living mostly in single-mother households, and usually on the edge of falling into desperate trouble. In "The Ease of Living" a boy is sent away from his homies to live for the summer with his grandfather in Florida, much to the boy's chagrin. In "Afternoon Tea" a girl is sent to a set of sorority sisters to learn polite culture. In "Pan Is Dead" a de ...more
Liked this book a lot and it's an excellent choice for a book discussion with teens. The ambiguous endings frustrated me until I realized that my true frustration stems from the no-easy- answer reality portrayed in the stories. A powerful and important read.
Some stories are really beautiful, such as "Dance With Me", but a few of the short stories fall flat. Ones like, "Some Other Kind of Happiness" have abrupt endings and over developed character and setting for such a short tale. This could have worked so much better as a novel. The characters in the book could have been a circle of friends and the narrative could have floated from person to person. For now, each story feels like a potential book, that ends when Gautier doesn't know how to continu ...more
Most short stories fall into 1 of 2 categories: centered around some monumental moment or lead to some life-altering conclusion. Rare are those which fall into neither. These are the ones I like best. At Risk is a collection of short stories that focus on everyday lives of everyday people. Each story contains a moment or event that has the potential to be life-altering, but the protagonists aren't always ready for it. These stories are about realistic people living realistic lives.
David Hicks
This is the best story collection I've read in years. Gautier really knows how to write--she shows and doesn't tell, her characters are authentic (and they surprise me in almost every story), and there is as much tension between sentences as there is in the plot. I love this book, and I'm going to use it in my next fiction-writing class so I can show my students how to do it right.
Cheryl Hillman
Basic situations that outlined an at Risk population of individuals.
Sian Griffiths
Vivid characters facing the difficulties of the world. Moving, lyrical, terrifying, and ultimately up-lifting.
Jennifer Gravley
Intense stories that draw you in, beautiful writing that furthers the spell.
Allison Dixon
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Amina Gautier is the author of the short story collections At-Risk, Winner of the Flannery O'Connor Award (University of Georgia Press, 2011), and Now We Will Be Happy, Winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction (University of Nebraska Press, 2014). She has published over eighty-five short stories. They appear in Best African American Fiction, Callaloo, Glimmer Train, Iowa Review, Kenyon ...more
More about Amina Gautier...
Now We Will Be Happy Now We Will Be Happy (Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction) At-Risk: Stories Glimmer Train Stories, #89 The Lineup: 25 Provocative Women Writers

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“But one place ain't no different from no place else. People try and make it like everything's new only to find the devil done followed you wherever you moved and all you can do is hold him off whiles you catch your breath” 0 likes
“They were both from the real world, their own distinct ones, but I was somewhere in limbo. Set apart, I didn't know how to let either of them in.” 0 likes
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