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Insurrections

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4.05  ·  Rating details ·  154 ratings  ·  34 reviews
A suicidal father looks to an older neighbor -- and the Cookie Monster -- for salvation and sanctuary as his life begins to unravel. A man seeking to save his estranged, drug-addicted brother from the city's underbelly confronts his own mortality. A chess match between a girl and her father turns into a master class about life, self-realization, and pride: "Now hold on lit ...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published July 1st 2016 by University Press of Kentucky (first published June 24th 2016)
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4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  154 ratings  ·  34 reviews


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Ben Loory
Apr 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Amazing collection. I'd been thinking about reading this for a long time because the cover kept catching my eye, but then last week this won some PEN America award and I was like, oh, the book with the birds?! So I read it. And every story was great! Really complex but fast-moving stories that constantly teeter on the verge of magical realism without ever quite tumbling over. They just bounce and hover there in this weird, highly realistic, semi-allegorical in-between area. Really loved thi ...more
Reggie
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Cross River is home to the United States' only successful slave rebellion, and from the first story in this collection, Good Times, all the way to the finale, Three Insurrections, you are captivated.

What stood out to me most about this collection is how inventive it was. Scott successfully plays by his own rules (I'm sure he had plenty of fun doing so!). Like many contemporary authors, he chooses to bypass the use of quotation marks when his characters speak, but that is the smallest part of his
...more
Shannon
Jun 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Somewhere between 3.5 and 4 for this one. This feels like the writing of an author who is very in touch with the community and aware of the dealings of its residents. Even though these stories are fiction, it feels like Rion was telling them for a certain group - like they're their stories. I appreciated the variety of characters, which included quite a few teenage protagonists. I couldn't help but think about Lost In The City while reading this. Very different collection of stories with very si ...more
Jason Diamond
Aug 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Excellent stuff. One of my favorite short story collections in a year filled with really fantastic short story collections.
Shawn Mooney (Shawn The Book Maniac)
Bailed on page 9. The writing— in particular, its therapy-speak dialogue heaviness—in the first story turned me off immediately and utterly. No doubt others might respond more positively to this type of short fiction.
David
Jul 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
These stories have a lingering aspect to them. They come back after reading is done whether the reader intends to revisit or not. Well crafted, moving, and intelligent, definitely some nice work.
Matt
Jan 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Mostly all I can say right now is damn, this is a fine book. I remember Roxane Gay tweeting several years back something to the effect of "Wow, Rion Amilcar Scott can sure write a great short story." I quickly found out for myself that she was right. I've followed his account and his writing for quite some time, but hadn't encountered many of the stories in this collection. This book is full of gems. It's rare for a short story collection to not have at least 2 kind of weak stories compared to t ...more
E Vikander
May 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Insurrections is a collection of short stories all set in the town of Cross River, Maryland. I could not relate to any of these stories, but that did not keep me from appreciating the bold writing and character richness. The story of Joan Santi—my favorite in the collection—simply hurt my heart. There is a lot said in these short stories. I’m hoping Scott’s next effort is a novel.
Justin
Jun 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
I received this ebook for free from Edelweiss for review purposes. I do not have to give a positive review, but do have to notify the reader how I received the book.

When I started Insurrections by Rion Amilcar Scott, I didn't enjoy it. The first short story was so strange- a man is rescued from attempting suicide by his neighbors. As their relationship grows, the man invites the neighbors to his child's birthday party where he has spent all his money on a Cookie Monster costume that smelled like
...more
Ruth
Oct 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
After reading "Three Insurrections" (the last story in this book) in the Kenyon Review, I knew I had to read the whole collection. Like all strong literary fiction, these stories contain surprising inevitabilities. Unique characters enact unexpected behavior--all portrayed through fresh prose--framed in satisfying and moving narratives.

The characters are skillfully drawn with complexity, grace and humor alongside of brutality and struggle. I particularly like the way so many of souls of Cross R
...more
Sean Carman
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this haunting and captivating collection of stories about life in the fictional town of Cross River, Maryland. The stories capture a sense of alienation and displacement but are also shot through with humanity and Scott's sharp wit. As Ben Loory said, they teeter on the edge of magical realism without ever tipping over. This is an entertaining, powerful collection. The best collection I've read in a long, long time.

My favorites included the opening story, "Good Times," in which the narra
...more
Charles Heiner
May 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These stories are based in the cities of Cross River, Maryland and Port Yooba, Virginia. The title, "Insurrections," is repeated throughout the book, referring to slave insurrections in the Caribbean, the insurrection of the former slaves that founded Cross River before the Civil War, and the characters' own acts of rebellion. In the last story, "Three Insurrections," the narrator recounts his father telling him "The Riverbabies—the Cross Riverians—they have an insurrection. And there is one to ...more
Heidi
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Insurrections: Stories by Rion Amilcar Scott is a collection of thirteen stories chronicling the lives of African American residents in the fictional town Cross River, MD.

I enjoyed the world Scott created, and he has stated that his future books will continue to explore Cross River. His characters are sad, violent, conflicted and real. His stories explore fatherhood, mental illness, addiction, immigration, and racism. I also was impressed by how he captured the angst of youth in some of his stor
...more
Robert B
Nov 04, 2017 rated it liked it
PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction finalist 2017. This collection of 13 short stories about the lives of black individuals in the fictional town of Cross River, Maryland, is uneven. Some of the stories are excellent while others waver between trying to do too much and trying to do too little. The best of the stories include “Everyone Lives in a Flood Zone,” in which a man goes looking for his drug-dealing brother during a flood and gets himself and his brother in trouble; “202 Checkma ...more
Elliott Turner
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wonderful! Scott's Cross River, Maryland is an awesome blend of real life cities like Silver Spring, Baltimore, and even D.C. An aspiring middle class African American community tries to make good, but the prospect of sliding back into poverty haunts everyone.

I really enjoyed the barber shop tale (about the barber who loses it) and also the very last tale about the Insurrection in Cross River and the MLK riot in DC as told by an immigrant from Trinidad. Also, Juba was unpredictable and fun - ma
...more
Marvin
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Collection of stories set in the fictional town of Cross River, Maryland, home of the only successful American slave rebellion. A somewhat frustrating collection--these feel just a good editor away from making for a five-star collection. The stories are mostly well-written and engaging but too often run too long and a have a tendency toward passages of exposition (often in the form of dialogue) that can drag things down. Highlights: A man seeks his troubled brother amid a flood in "Everyone Live ...more
Michael
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the best short story collections I have ever read.

Such a strong, evocative voice in each narrative.

Really don't won't to make this a bloated review so I'm not going to spout out too many review-y sounding stuff.

Just loved the voice of the book. It's there throughout with so much texture and force.

The last story was moving/challenges the reader to think about history, sons/fathers.

Most of all--and I guess this is something that's important to me--the prose is imaginative when describin
...more
Vonetta
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I wasn't going to give this 5 stars because I was like, well, there isn't a lot of description of the characters or setting and those are really important craft elements, so 4 stars. But then I realized that I could still see everything as I read, so Scott went beyond craft. And the plots of these stories were so unique, I couldn't stop reading because I couldn't guess what was going to happen next, but at the same time I never felt lost. These were supremely well-done stories that I can see bei ...more
Danielle
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Hard to think that this collection was written by one author given how brilliantly different each story was. Rion Amilcar Scott masterfully navigates the complexities of Cross River (a town wrought with history) and its inhabitants like a true storyteller. My favorites were “Confirmation” and “A Friendly Game”, but can say that the entire collection as a whole was cohesive.
MissUkamaka
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: gog-bc
There are some stories that grabbed me and made me wish that there was more.

Then there were others that made me think "Geez, how much more do I have left of this?"

I don't know what to think.

If you are looking for a mixed bag of stories of broken black men, pick this book up.
Emily
A well-written collection exploring poverty and racism as it affects a predominantly black community in Maryland. I liked that Scott chose to set all the stories in the same town, as it gives the reader a good sense of who these people are and how their environment has shaped them.
Christopher
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was one of the greatest short story collections I’ve ever read. I was so absorbed by the book that I felt sad when it was done. But then I saw that the author has another collection coming out soon, so I won’t have to wait long to read more of his stuff. Read this now!
Tom
May 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
A well-written collection of stories, by an artist who appreciates the sound of language. We do all live in a flood zone; the predicaments, the struggles, which these characters strive to transcend, could descend on any one of us. I am looking forward to the next book from Scott.
Dongnaan
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Easily one of the best collections I've read all year. Fantastic, fantastic.
Tristan
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very well written
Virgowriter (Brad Windhauser)
Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
A tight, interesting collection. I really liked how a lot of the stories resist typical short story structures. "A friendly Game" and "202 Checkmates" are standouts--strong characters, voice.
Michael Janairo
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I recommend the story collection Insurrections by Rion Amilcar Scott.

The stories offer glimpses of life in the fictional town of Cross River, Maryland, a largely black settlement founded in 1807 after the only successful slave revolt in the United States.

In “Good Times,” a troubled man with a wife and child finds his way back into the good graces of his family through the help of a neighbor and a ratty old Cookie Monster costume. In “Everyone Lives in a Flood Zone,” a man searches for a brother
...more
Tracy
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I first heard Rion Amilcar Scott read in December 2015. I was captivated by his lyrical prose as the afternoon light came through the windows of Litmore—I had to get INSURRECTIONS when it came out.

In INSURRECTIONS, Scott opens windows into the world of the residents of the fictional town of Cross River, Maryland, a largely black settlement founded in 1807 after the only successful slave revolt in the United States. Scott portrays individuals growing up and growing old in this community—empathet
...more
Jacqui
There were a few stories in this collection that I enjoyed - 'A Friendly Game', '202 Checkmates' and 'The legend of Ezekiel Marcus'; but I found the second half of the collection a bit tedious and I didn't enjoy some of the usual styles that were employed.

Memorable Quotes
"...the same things that make you want to kill yourself also save your life."

"Why didn't they just pull her aside, grab her, shake her, say what they had to say? Instead they whispered until whispering would no longer do."

"The
...more
Marva
Nov 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This short story collection is about life in the fictitious Cross River, Maryland. Insurrections is about how the residents of this town that was founded in 1807 after the country's first successful slave revolt cope with life's challenges including depression, financial difficulty, drugs and family conflicts.

Scott's work is reminiscent of the short fiction by Edward P. Jones, a writer he counts as one of his influences. The characters are well drawn. They live and breathe on the page, and you
...more
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Rion Amilcar Scott is the author of the story collection, The World Doesn't Require You (Norton/Liveright, August 2019). His debut story collection, Insurrections (University Press of Kentucky, 2016), was awarded the 2017 PEN/Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and the 2017 Hillsdale Award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers. His work has been published in journals such as The Kenyon Review, Crab
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“Have you even fucked her yet? Been with her how long and you ain’t even hit that? You must be gay, man. You the only one that ain’t hit it. He a virgin, that’s why he be throwing rocks at people. Man, that don’t even make no sense, Casey said. It’s from the Bible, Kwayku replied. He who is without sin can cast the first stone.” 1 likes
“Some shit I got to say to you, I won’t even try to say ’cause there ain’t no words for it.” 1 likes
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