Friday, February 12, 2010

Porch Lies: Tales of Slickster, Tricksters, and Other Wily Characters

Author: Patricia C. McKissack

First line: Mis Martha June was a person I thought incapable of telling a porch lie.

Why you should read this book: Author McKissack remembers the glee and reverence with which she and her family listened to older community members telling “porch lies”: tall tales about clever tricksters overcoming the odds and outwitting the powerful through the strength of their own wits, and she recreates that mood in Porch Lies, summoning not only a series of her own trickster tales, but also a cast of characters to tell the stories: in a nice meta turn, some of the stories feature stories-within-the-stories-within-the-stories. In nine fascinating tales, African American characters young and old match their wills against their friends, strangers, outlaws, and the devil himself, mixing the scarcely plausible with the fantastically impossible, for a rich mix of stories just ripe for telling. Providing a sense of empowerment along with a sense of history and community, this is a noteworthy book by an award-winning author.

Why you shouldn’t read this book: You’ve never told a lie in all your life.

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