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The World Doesn't Require You

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3.69  ·  Rating details ·  1,112 ratings  ·  197 reviews
Established by the leaders of the country’s only successful slave revolt in the mid-nineteenth century, Cross River still evokes the fierce rhythms of its founding. In lyrical prose and singular dialect, a saga beats forward that echoes the fables carried down for generations—like the screecher birds who swoop down for their periodic sacrifice, and the water women who lure ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published August 20th 2019 by Liveright (first published June 24th 2016)
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Cavak I took it as having multiple themes like the the future won't change if the past isn't really gone, and you can't break free if you accept the comfort…moreI took it as having multiple themes like the the future won't change if the past isn't really gone, and you can't break free if you accept the comfortable and ugly familiar. With an African-American emphasis on the slant rather than the full on positive.

You can read Scott's words for yourself and be the judge of what you got out of these stories: https://www.npr.org/2019/08/22/753493...(less)

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Average rating 3.69  · 
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Roxane
Mar 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is an incredibly ambitious collection, the kind of book where the writer takes huge risks and doesn't look back. There is a lot to admire in these stories and the fictional world of Cross River that serves as the backdrop. The surreality works really well and the angry wit makes the writing so very sharp. One thing I struggled with is that at times, there wasn't a sense of authorial control. The big ideas were there but I wanted more behind the big ideas. Anyway, I truly cannot wait to see ...more
Viral
Jun 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Edit (8/1/19): This review was initially posted on 6/9/19, but after seeing it get shouted out by Goodreads I've seen a review bomb effort undertaken by some dummy accounts giving this book 1 star ratings. I just wanted to let people know that, since I posted one of the earliest reviews of this book, which I acquired at BookExpo America in May.


Thanks to W.W. Norton for the ARC at BEA 2019!

This book was phenomenal. Rion Scott has written a collection of short stories here, all in different styles
...more
Reggie
Dec 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-favorites
Rion Amilcar Scott is one of my favorite living authors.

The World Doesn't Require You is Scott's second short story collection, yet it is the one where a lot of readers were introduced to him due to a change in publisher from his first collection (TWDRY published by Liveright/Norton, Insurrections published by University of Kentucky Press. Liveright is the larger press of the two). If he were a rapper than you might say that TWDRY is his major label debut, and of course, as expected, he knocked
...more
Annie
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Rion Amilcar Scott’s story collection, The World Doesn’t Require You, is one of the most astonishingly smart collections I’ve ever read. I don’t think I’ve read anything as brutally intelligent as Scott’s stories. Even before I finished the book, I wanted to gather all of the literature wonks I know and force them to read this collection as fast as humanly possible, so that we can talk about what the stories have to say, how they are constructed, and what the hell we’re supposed to read next bec ...more
Andre
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Quirky, in an Ishmael Reed kind of way. A heavy helping of satire with a steady stream of wisdom. This short story collection is unlike any I’ve read in recent memory, mainly because it is so left field in a positive way. That magical realism pops up here (more and more becoming a thing in fiction) and really informs the entire collection. I’m still on the fence as a fan of that device, though it works well here. Although the stories are separate they are all connected to the fictional Cross Riv ...more
Never Without a Book
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If given the choice to have a conversation with any author dead or alive at this very moment, I would pick Rion Amilcar Scott. In his collection of stories, The World Doesn't Require You, Scott masterfully mixes a bizarre cocktail of satire, magical realism and a world that only he could create.

After each story I literally said to myself “How tf did he do that?” His story telling skills are on a whole different level. This collection can and will make you uncomfortable, but its powerful and sti
...more
Kimberley
Jul 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I opted to sit with this book awhile before deciding to write a review.

Prior to reading this work, I had never heard of Rion Amilcar Scott, nor had I any knowledge of his debut Insurrections. The book was chosen for its cover--which is absolutely captivating--and its blurb: I was intrigued by the concept of a generation of people with an enduring connection to a place like Cross River; a place that is, of course, fictional, but one that also inspires a curious sort of mindset.

Let me tell you, t
...more
Lalaa #ThisBlackGirlReads
Jul 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was hooked from the very first story. This book grabbed me and spoke to me in a way that no book has done in a truly long time.

This collection of essays covers coming of age and fables stories all wrapped into a beautiful collection that explores slavery, love, and connection mixed in with African American history and experience.

The themes are unique and powerful, often leaving me with deep thoughts and analysis.

A thought-provoking and strong collection.
Kadi
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
I don’t know why there are so many overtly fake accounts giving this book 1 star.
Hannah Brown
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways
"My only need: to stand as I did, not in perfection, nor in mastery, nor even in competence, but in constant work and growth."

"Ugly words carelessly arranged can derange us just like beautiful words in beautiful order. Ugly derangement saps us and depletes us, devolves us to our base selves, rips feathers from the wings we've gained from all our beautiful derangement."

Rion Scott sows together a powerful tale of what it means to be human. This collection of stories brings to the light lonelines
...more
Jaclyn (sixminutesforme)
This short story collection was structurally one of the most creative and unique I’ve read - it utilizes a variety of genres across each story, focuses on rich characterizations, and felt like a community analysis of the fictional Cross River. I felt like the stories at beginning and the final one were strong bookends. The final story (a novella told across several parts) being the strongest for me. Thematically it tied together things that has first surfaced in earlier parts of the collection. ...more
Drew
Jul 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
5+ out of 5.
Astoundingly good. That last novella, SPECIAL TOPICS IN LONELINESS STUDIES, is... holy shit. It's a thing of exceptional exquisite beauty and grace and power. I loved this so much; I need to read Insurrections immediately. I can't wait to get back to Cross River.
...more
Crystal
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ingenious is a fair way to describe this collection of stories, and probably doesn’t do Scott’s work justice. Rion Amilcar Scott’s The World Doesn’t Require You is a collection of 11 short stories and one novella. A dark, riveting, work of satire with awesome Easter eggs throughout; the reader is taken on a journey through different time periods in the fictional town of Cross River, Maryland. Cross River is the located on the grounds of a successful slave revolt of the early 19th century. I foun ...more
Sharon Layburn
Jul 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-from-pub
"It’s true. Every word of it. Even the parts I made up. Especially the parts I made up."

The essays from The World Doesn't Require You include biblical updates, coming of age stories, new fables, and more.
The tales explore African American history, slavery, power, love, personal connections, and so much more.
The voices are raw and vibrant, the themes thought provoking and often uncomfortable, but always unique and never forgettable.
This is powerful stuff.

This ARC was provided by Norton, in ex
...more
Tessy Consentino
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow!
Dorothy Young
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
special topics in loneliness studies is particularly spectacular in its questioning and takedown (possibly satirical and, somehow, incredibly genuine) of academia, lionizing literary heroes, and our relationships with our selves and our loved ones.
The Dope Librarian
Dec 02, 2019 rated it liked it
This book has some awesome parts but then it just goes left. It’s so deep that I am missing the point in some of the stories. I do have my favorites though. Riding on 6 fos is good
Rachel León
Wow, what did I just read? This book is incredible.
Ray Sinclair
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
After seeing Mr. Scott at the Texas Book Festival where he was insightful and articulate about his own work and the state of modern short stories, and after sampling the many positive reviews posted here, I still feel disappointed with this story collection. To me it was mostly style with little substance. Sentences often seemed to be much ado about very little. I get that loneliness is universal, but what of it? The much-praised novella portion seemed like a too-easy and superficial send up of ...more
J. Bradley
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I think anyone who gives this book less than four stars lacks a sense of adventurousness in their literary tastes. The novella makes me want to see what madness Scott can come up with in a novel.
Roger DeBlanck
Oct 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
The stories and the novella that comprise Scott’s debut are ambitious and original. They are sometimes engaging, and sometimes abstruse. The selections in the first half of the book consist of short stories that alternate between fully-developed narratives and very short fictions of 2-3 pages. I found the longer stories more memorable. The lead story “David Sherman, the Last Son of God” develops intense drama and intrigue surrounding a struggling musician, while Scott nicely explores themes of a ...more
Hester
I wanted to like this book so badly. It is smart, and it makes you think differently about America and American history. A couple of the short stories (the ones involving robots, and "The War Against Rape") are just, so, so smart and true. This is a book rooted in where I am from, and where I live. But it is a book written for men. It is a book about unpleasant men, and their issues with women. Many of the characters, if not the narrator, consistently objectify women(view spoiler) ...more
Theodore
Mar 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
The World Doesn't Require You: Stories, is sharp and strange story collection. unearthly beautiful yet complex. Scott has a unique prose that makes me eager to read more from him in the future. but i think that's the reason why it took me much longer to read, this being my second attempt. it's far more layered short story collection for my preference. and i felt some of the stories dragged or were too short.

what carried this home was of course "special topics of loneliness" and "the nigger knoc
...more
Denver Public Library
If you liked Paul Beatty’s The Sellout, this one’s for you. Scott confronts racial stereotypes by inhabiting them to the nth degree, peeking out from the eye holes of their scary, cartoonish masks with a big wink and a nudge for readers in the know. Afrofuturism plus alternative Afrohistory—a challenging, troubling book that illuminates the grotesqueries in ourselves and in the world. I almost put it down midway through. I’m glad I didn’t.
Andrea
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: short-stories
I didn't love this. Some stories were more interesting and readable than others and as a whole they connected. This verges on experimental writing, which is great, but in the end, there were too few female characters and those that were, were nearly inconsequential or written as throw aways.

I hope others can see something to connect with in this book, but I couldn't. It happens.
...more
C.M. Arnold
Sep 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5ish rounded up

I want to preface this review by saying it has only been in recent years that I've started to get into both short story collections & more works in the satirical/magical realism vein. By that, I'm admitting I may not be the best judge of decency when it comes to such projects. I neither loved nor hated these stories. There were moments I smirked at the wit and was impressed with what (I interpreted) was coyly being conveyed. I hesitate to compare authors and books to other autho
...more
Salamanderinspace
Nov 15, 2020 rated it liked it
The first short story is about a man who plays in a church band and has a religious experience with music. The second story is about two grown men who play Ding Dong Ditch. The third story is about a robot who experiences ... race, and slavery. The fourth story is a little confusing. The protagonist seems to be schizophrenic or something similar, and fairly misogynist. It seemed beautifully written but I couldn't follow it, so I skipped to the next one after about two thirds.

I felt that the stor
...more
dionizia
Nov 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amy Holodak
Sep 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
I heard Rion Amilcar Scott say in an interview that he knows Cross River, Maryland like the back of his hand (not verbatim but that was the gist). Cross River exists entirely in Scott's imagination, and there is a care in how deeply he has built this town, without allowing it to be constrained by genre or time. Magical realism works so well to highlight the surrealist, absurdist realities of the African American experience.
As others have already noted, the first half of the collection is made u
...more
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Goodreads Librari...: The World Doesn't Require You: Stories - Hardcover 3 41 Feb 14, 2020 05:24AM  

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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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