L.A. Consequential

Hipsters and hustlers, actors and addicts: Wanda Coleman’s new short-story collection

Jazz and Twelve O’Clock Tales
By Wanda Coleman
Black Sparrow Press, 160 pp., $22.95

Are the 13 short stories in Wanda Coleman’s Jazz and Twelve O’Clock Tales good enough to make white America reassess black America? To paraphrase a typically wry line from the book’s cop-culture parable “Shark Liver Oil,” Coleman knows she has the power to entertain, but only does so hoping “. . . the consciousness of that other community across town might be raised.” This slender volume of elegant prose does what decades of Jerry Springer and hip-hop have failed to do: reveal painful social truths without promoting human pathology. Continue reading “L.A. Consequential”