By John Keene

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Conjuring slavery and witchcraft, and with bewitching powers all its personal, Counternarratives consistently spins history—and storytelling—on its head

Ranging from the seventeenth century to our present second, and crossing a number of continents, Counternarratives' tales and novellas draw upon memoirs, newspaper money owed, detective tales, interrogation transcripts, and speculative fiction to create new and weird views on our prior and current. “An Outtake” chronicles an escaped slave’s tackle liberty and the yankee Revolution;"The unusual background of Our girl of the Sorrows" provides a strange sequence of occasions that spread in a nineteenth-century Kentucky convent; "The Aeronauts" soars among bustling Philadelphia, still-rustic Washington, and the theater of the U.S. Civil conflict; “Rivers,” offers a unfastened Jim assembly up a long time later along with his former raftmate Huckleberry Finn; and in "Acrobatique," the topic of a recognized Edgar Degas portray talks again.

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Jaeger rose from the sand, weapon in his shoulder, all his pent-up rage and fury focused into the fight. He sprinted forward, only his eyes and his bared teeth showing white among the dark film of swamp filth that coated him from head to toe, thundering across the open beach, his muzzle spitting fire. Within moments, the last of President Chambara’s soldiers had broken rank and run. Raff and Jaeger chased them through the palm grove with aimed bursts, until not a single enemy figure was visible anywhere.

You’re right – we’ll never make it out of here via the airport. ’ Raff threw him a look. ‘Way I heard it, you were here working as a teacher. Teaching English. At a village in the far north of the island. I paid them a visit. A bunch of fishermen there figure you’re the best thing that ever happened on Hell Island. Taught their kids to read ’n’ write. ’ He paused. ’ Jaeger thought about it for a second. He’d spent close to three years on Bioko. He’d got to know the local fishing communities well.

Any excuse. We say our goodbyes here. ’ The chief rose to his feet. ‘It has been three fine years, William. Insh’Allah you will make it across the Gulf and from there to your home. ’ ‘Insh’Allah,’ Jaeger echoed. He and the chief shook hands. ’ Jaeger glanced momentarily at a line of faces that ringed the hut. Kids. Dusty, scuffed up, semi-naked – but happy. Maybe that was what the children here had taught him – the meaning of happiness. His eyes returned to the chief. ’ The chief smiled. ‘I will.

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Counternarratives by John Keene


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