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Alexia Arthurs’s stories are imbued with a tender nostalgia

The author has been praised by Zadie Smith—and rightly so

Alexia Arthurs

Alexia Arthurs

The title of this debut collection of short stories might mimic that of a “How to” manual but Alexia Arthurs’s prose is anything but didactic. In the opening story, “Light-Skinned Girls and Kelly Rowlands,” the narrator Kimberley observes of her friend Cecilia that she was the “kind of black girl who didn’t think about her race as much as I did.” Although Kimberley initially views her friend as “a white girl trapped in a black girl’s body—an Oreo,” her judgment comes to seem too easy. Kimberley had…

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