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All booksShort storiesWhatever Happened to Interracial Love?
Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? by Kathleen Collins
Short stories

Whatever Happened to Interracial Love?

by Kathleen Collins

Quick take

Even though these stories were written decades ago, the issues and frustrations of the characters’ lives mimic where we are right now.

Why I love it

Abbi Jacobson
Dec. 2016

At this point in time, I’m finding myself frustrated, concerned, lost and confused at the world around me. It seems like we’re all searching for answers and solutions and trying to find voices that ease our pain and make us feel less alone, even as we take extra care to be open to different points of view.

Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? felt like I dug up a secret time capsule from the 1960s and opened it to find a collection of stories that made me feel. I think that’s what we look for in all content really, stories and pieces of other people’s experiences that make us feel. Sad, sexy, hopeful and honest characters fill Kathleen Collin’s beautiful book. And even though these stories were written decades ago, the issues and frustrations of her characters’ lives mimic where we are right now. Strong, bold, black women fill the pages, reminiscing on an important time in American history, much of which still holds true today.

Read our exclusive Q&A with Guest Judge Abbi Jacobson

Every story shifts tone and point of view in a way that keeps you on your toes as a reader'”wondering not only what’s next for each character, but what might be in store for you as well. Cinematic, visual, erotic, gentle and poetic are words that come to mind as I swirl around this collection.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for slivers of hope and beauty and detail. It’s for anyone who’s yearning for something, looking to get lost in other’s journeys to find themselves, immerse themselves in other’s regrets for a moment. I had never heard of Kathleen Collins before diving into her stories, and I later learned that this collection was discovered by her daughter many years after Kathleen’s death. Even so, her smart prose is specific and always changing, like she was constantly experimenting with who she was herself as a writer. I found her style immensely inspiring as a creator and as a woman.

Read our exclusive Q&A with Guest Judge Abbi Jacobson

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Member thoughts

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996 ratings
  • 35% Love
  • 48% Like
  • 11% Dislike
  • Steilacoom, WA

    Kathleen Collins, if not lost so early in her life, would have gone on to have such an impact. This collection, though small, took me a while to digest. So many heart-wrenching themes, with such style

  • Kansas City, MO

    This lovely book of short stories is so well written. Collins's experience in film is a great influence on her writing style and I love that I'll need to re-read a few of the stories many more times.

  • Tampa, FL

    The fact that Collins died at such a young age makes this collection even more bittersweet. These stories are brutal and funny and sad, which is an apt description of being the most visible minority.

  • Asheville, NC

    Yes Yes YES read this book. Never having heard of Kathleen Collins, I was immediately pulled into her short stories of love and life. I'm officially a huge fan of Collins' raw storytelling style.

  • Oak Park , IL

    Vibrant and original collection of stories focused on both race and relationships. While the stories are very short she makes the characters come alive despite having only a few pages to do so.

  • La Verne, CA

    Various short stories regarding race, sex, sexism, dreams, dead or alive, and capturing one's truth permeate this lovely collection, while inviting readers to take different looks at such topic

  • Sylmar, CA

    NEED. MORE. KATHLEEN. COLLINS. Collins somehow captures the identities of Black people rarely represented in culture and media. She writes about the outsiders making them relatable and lovable.

  • Houston, TX

    I loved the tone and observational style of this writer. Around the same time, an interracial relationship I was in ended, and the title story hit home to me. It's a classic and necessary book.

  • Coon Rapids , MN

    Kathleen Collins was an amazing author! Every story collected from her was different, not one like the other, and yet somehow they were all fantastic. I will definitely reread them very soon!

  • Princeton, NJ

    Fresh and unpretentious writing - interesting variety of styles and engaging perspective. So glad these were discovered and got to see the light of day. Good call in puyblishing these stories.

  • Mogadore, OH

    Im not sure what I expected when I started reading, but this book exceeded my expectations. I wanted to know more and more about these characters lives! I felt so attached to them all.

  • Lacey, WA

    Interesting composition of stories with very human characters. I loved the writing style and reading about some underrepresented humans - smart black women who are rounded into people.

  • Sherman Oaks , CA

    Genuinely some of the most beautiful prose I've ever read. Lent this to a friend immediately after. The kind of book that stays with you and makes you want to share it all at once.

  • Arroyo Grande , CA

    This collection is beautiful and Collins's voices are are even more so. The opening story and the title story are hard to beat and voices behind them are intelligent and powerful.

  • Pawling , NY

    The stories were compelling and written in an interesting way. Its amazing all the perspectives Collin's was able to write from. Thought provoking, an absolutely must read.

  • Portland, OR

    This book of short stories was written a lifetime ago, but felt so relevant to me right now. Maybe it will always be... The writing is intriguing and smart.

  • Brooklyn, NY

    Great short vignettes into the lives of characters we meet very briefly yet want to know more about. Still as relevant and touching all these years later.

  • Shelton, CT

    Enjoyed this book for the strong emotions portrayed in these short stories. Powerful messages and emotions - sadly, a writer taken from us too soon.

  • St Paul, MN

    I really enjoyed reading about love, and feminism from a different perspective than I normally would. I found this collection of work quite inspiring.

  • Portland, OR

    So powerful and thought-provoking for such minimalist use of language--it felt revelatory and cathartic all at once. I'll keep coming back to this one.

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