Meet Behind Mars

Renee Simms (Author)

Product Details

Wayne State University Press
Publish Date
May 01, 2018
5.4 X 0.6 X 8.4 inches | 0.45 pounds
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About the Author

Renee Simms is assistant professor of African American studies and contributing faculty to English studies at University of Puget Sound. Her work has been widely published, appearing in Callaloo, Southwest Review, North American Review, Salon, and elsewhere. She received a 2018 National Endowment for the Arts fellowship.


Renee Simms is an incredible storyteller gifted with both wit and wisdom. She's not afraid of the hard questions, yet this work brims with hope and heart. Meet Behind Mars marks an exciting debut of a vibrant new voice in American literature.--Tayari Jones "author of An American Marriage and Silver Sparrow "
Renee Simms's Meet Behind Mars is an eclectic, emotionally rich, funny, quirky, and grounded debut from a fresh voice. It is truly a pleasure to spend time among such a diverse roster of African American characters in settings ranging from Katrina-devastated New Orleans to the South China Sea. In these fictions that are, by turns, realist, fabulist, and satirical, women and men search out life's meaning through work, sex, travel, and family in finely observed moments full of quiet urgency.--Asali Solomon "author of Disgruntled "
With penetrating wit and precise literary detail, Renee Simms gives us eleven dazzling stories that uplift, entertain, and welcome her readers into the emotional and spiritual 'inner spaces' of unforgettable characters.--Melissa Pritchard "author of A Solemn Pleasure "
Renee Simms writes from the heart of our shared contemporary moment. These stories are both easy and hard to read, familiar and frustrating both, this mix compelling throughout. These are African American lives fully offered, and women's lives in particular. As readers, we cannot emerge from this book unmoved.--Alberto Rios "author of A Small Story about the Sky "
Outstanding short story collection. Excellent characterization in each story. I loved the range of characters and their circumstances as well as the settings from Detroit to Los Angeles to the Pacific Northwest. Very efficient narrative style. Crisp, confident storytelling. By far one of the best collections of the year.-- (05/14/2018)
Renee Simms crafts stories that are so potent that they take up very little space on the page, but her characters are fully realized. The reader learns so much about them through the right details and tightly crafted narratives. The inner and outer lives of the women in these stories are as gripping as an action movie and as immersive as the best character drama, but these stories aren't noisy. They're acute, weird, broad, breathtaking, and beautiful.-- (11/19/2018)
Simms' experiments with domestic realism but also fabulism and satire; she has crafted beautifully deep, tangible characters, and their dialogue is some of the best that I've read recently. Meet Behind Mars is a collection to be treasured.-- (08/27/2018)
The stories in Meet Behind Mars by Renee Simms touch on womanhood, family, sacrifice, and morals. Some of the tales are twisted with a bit of surrealism, a little Twilight Zone to counterbalance the absolutely real, cramped truth of growing up not only period, but a woman and black. [...] Simms does an exceptional job detailing the hardships of existence without making it one-dimensional. Her characters don't find life troublesome necessarily because of their gender or race, but because life itself is troublesome; however, it's extremely pleasant, too, if you allow it to be.-- (08/01/2018)
This little book of short stories has been compared stylistically to the words of Toni Cade Bambara and Edward P. Jones. I would probably throw in Rion Amilcar Scott as another fine example of what you'll find in these pages. Although these are heavy shoes to fill, Renee Simms with this collection, is uniquely qualified to fill them and does it with aplomb.-- (07/20/2018)
The book deserves to be read more widely, savored, and carefully listed as a required text on spring-semester syllabi across the world. It's short enough to enjoy in one day, but you'll likely still be thinking about the stories long after you've closed the book.-- (01/03/2019)