Get Down

Asali Solomon

This is probably my favorite short story collection that I’ve read all year. I find the collections I enjoy the most are those where all of the stories are rooted in certain commonalities while each one retains a distinctive feel and focus, as if the collection constitutes an exercise in working out all the possibilities of those few specific themes.

These are all set in middle-class black Philadelphia, often involve characters who grew up in the 1980s, and largely look to outline the various ways race and class can be intertwined yet also at odds. Another common element is nostalgia, both in the stories set in the past tense entirely and those where the characters themselves are looking back. Many of these characters seem to be yearning for something that has passed, whether it was a certain time of their lives or a belief naïvely held. It plays out with a variety of different lenses, including sexuality and religion.