2022 fiction finalist
Danielle Evans | The Office of Historical Corrections: A Novella and Stories
About the author
Danielle Evans is the author of the story collections The Office of Historical Corrections and Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self, winner of the 2021 Joyce Carol Oates Prize, the PEN America PEN/Robert W. Bingham prize, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and the Paterson Prize, and a National Book Foundation 5 under 35 honoree. Her stories have appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including The Best American Short Stories. She teaches in The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University.
About the book
The Office of Historical Corrections tells the stories of characters, many now in their 30s and struggling with finding love, settling into an identity, losing a parent, and reckoning with how history haunts us, personally and collectively, as an individual and a nation. A “startlingly good sociocultural mimic” (Boston Globe), Evans showcases her “blisteringly smart” (Time) voice and unique gift to zoom into particular moments and relationships that also speak to larger issues around race, gender and identity. Through richly drawn characters and razor-sharp prose, Evans tells intensely intimate stories that are as timely as they are timeless, as funny as they are devastating and as pleasurable as they are painful. These are stories that transport, as much as they slyly force their reader to sit with uncomfortable but necessary questions around race, privilege, white fragility, the legacy of trauma, and the illusions of our past. Evans especially stuns with the eponymous novella, the “crowning jewel” (Publishers Weekly) that closes the collection. Ambitious, prescient and “completely transformative” (Vulture), the historical thriller illuminates recent American controversies about how we perceive and protect our national history, and how the pursuit of truth shapes us and our relationships. In this way, The Office of Historical Corrections arrives at the perfect moment: when so many are eager to engage with conversations around race and history in America, and yet also weary from the relentlessness of world events, psychically burnt out, emotionally detached. Danielle Evans brings a desperately needed nuance and empathy to our bigger cultural conversations and imbues them with a humanity that is real, honest, and recognizable.
“Evans’s propulsive narratives read as though they’re getting away with something, building what feel like novelistic plots onto the short story’s modest real estate . . . I could have kept reading for pages." —The New York Times Book Review
“Sublime short stories of race, grief, and belonging.” —The New Yorker
“A magnificent, searing collection . . . Evans’s storytelling shines.” —The Washington Post
“Storytelling that is gripping on every level. Necessary narratives, brilliantly crafted.” —Kirkus, starred review
“Sly, haunting . . . a dazzling dissection of our twisted attitudes about race, culture, history, and truth. . . Incisive, nuanced, and deliciously complex, each of these stories proves that Evans is a bravura talent.” —Esquire