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Echo Tree: The Collected Short Fiction of Henry Dumas

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4.17  ·  Rating details ·  63 ratings  ·  13 reviews

Henry Dumas’s fiction is a masterful synthesis of myth and religion, culture and nature, mask and identity. From the Deep South to the simmering streets of Harlem, his characters embark on surreal and mythic quests armed only with wit, words, and wisdom. Championed by Toni Morrison, Walter Mosley, and Quincy Troupe, -Dumas’s books have long been out of print. All of his

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Paperback, 350 pages
Published September 1st 2003 by Coffee House Press
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Read By RodKelly
Mar 15, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was a bit of a challenge; one of those books that has me asking myself if I'm intelligent enough to fully appreciate its brilliance. I'm somewhere on the fence. I purchased it because of Toni Morrison's esteemed endorsement (and she's my literary queen!)...but Dumas writes from a place that's heavily inspired by themes that are so contemporaneous to the 1950s and 60s that it's hard to connect. Other times he writes big, heady fables that really take a lot of effort to understand. ...more
Brian Slattery
Jan 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I cannot believe it took me so long to discover Henry Dumas.
Markus
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great short stories about civil rights and black life in the US (both rural and urban), set during a few different times and wavering between realist, eerie, mystical and symbolist tones.

This is a must-read, but sometimes hard to find as a physical book outside the US. It is available on audible and from openlibrary though, so please give it a try.
Viola
Dec 05, 2020 rated it liked it

https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/12/...

DECEMBER 4, 2020
Henry Dumas: The Death and Resurrection of a “Cult” Poet
BY ISHMAEL REED

A few years ago, the most powerful Black editor in New York asked me to submit outlines for two books he wanted to publish. I went one better. I submitted two manuscripts. He told me that the salespeople rejected them because “they’d only win prizes and critical acclaim.” Judging by trends in Black literature, the salespeople have won out. In a Poets and Writers’ interv
...more
Jeff
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is by far my favorite collection of short stories, the best that I've ever come across and will be hard to beat for sure. To understand these wonderfully written tales fully, is to understand their author, Henry Dumas. Born in a small, predominantly black town of Sweet Home, Arkansas , Dumas was raised in the church until moving to New York City. After graduating from high school in 1953, he joined the Air Force, stationed in San Antonio originally and then once more in Saudi Arabia. These ...more
Baibhav Sharma
Feb 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This has been the most complete picture of afro-surrealist literature I've read ever. All of the stories embody some quality of Afro-surrealist movement or the other. Henry Dumas was one of the most influential American authors, albeit not as well recognized. Please read his short stories or poems if you haven't. They have been ever-relevant to the racial climate in the US, but a conscious rediscovery of works by the likes of Dumas right now would enlighten and fit the our current times. ...more
Benjamin Cane
Nov 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Henry Dumas' work is the epitome of African American speculative fiction. As a southerner I can truly appreciate many of his tales, in which, they capture the essence of our mystical nature as a people. ...more
Solita
Jul 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
These are beautifully written stories. I mean beautiful writing. For me, reading this collection of short fiction was an amazing experience. I will def read more Henry Dumas. I don't recall every hearing about Dumas, and if I did, it was my mistake not to read him long before now. I came his across his name recently, so I decided to take a looksee. Wow, I'm so glad I did. This is the sort of writing I live to read. According to Dumas' bio, he was born in Sweet Home, Arkansas in 1934, moved to Ha ...more
Mikal
Nov 01, 2007 rated it really liked it
An interesting volume of short fiction and poetry, reflecting the ongoing search of identity and emancipation of the African American. It being an anthology, not really an all the way through read. A great set of abstract works.
Rita
Apr 14, 2016 marked it as to-read
See my email to self, subj; Toni Morrison.

this may be the book of his for me to get and read.
he wrote poetry, and short stories.
Victoria Law
His last story "Riot or Revolt?" about the day after a riot in Harlem prompted by the police shooting a Black boy is, sadly, all to familiar.

...more
Mills College Library
Fiction D8866e 2003
Eddie Sulecki
Oct 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Very good stories, I would recommend to those interested in African American literature.
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In April of 1968, at the age of thirty-three, Henry Dumas was shot and killed by a New York Transit Authority Policeman at 125th Street Station in a case of "mistaken identity." At the time of his death, he had already finished several manuscripts of poetry and short stories.

Dumas' poetry, short fiction, and novels have been published posthumously in large part due to the efforts of Eugene Redmon
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