Christine Lincoln

A Baltimore native and a graduate of Washington College, Christine Lincoln was the winner of the prestigious Sophie Kerr Prize, an award for the most promising writer on campus. Her first book of short stories, Sap Rising, is described as “…twelve spare, mesmerizing stories…that [take] us inside the hearts and minds of African-Americans whose lives unfold against a vividly evoked southern rural landscape. As they navigate between the old and the new, between youth and adulthood, they find themselves choosing between the comforts of what they trust unquestioningly and the fearsome excitements of what they might come to know." 

 

From Publishers Weekly
Abandonment and acceptance, city versus country living, and the aching desire for freedom are the themes of the 12 linked short stories gathered here. Gently and skillfully, Lincoln leads readers back and forth in time collecting and juxtaposing fragments of stories set in a town called Grandville, in the rural South. In "Bug Juice," nine-year-old Sonny gets a taste of grown-up dreams and desires when his uncle comes to visit with a city woman "the color of ripened mulberries," who tells him stories about "Af-free-ka." Later on, in "All That's Left," Sonny appears again as one of a group of friends who decide to gang up on a prissy girl, Pontella. Pontella is the daughter of Ebbie Pinder, who runs away from Grandville and returns with baby Pontella, only to desert her three years later. When she realizes her mother isn't coming back, in "A Hook Will Sometimes Keep You," Pontella comes to believe she is turning invisible, though her Aunt Loretta loves her dearly. Lincoln's language can be trite and self-consciously folksy, and her tales fit a little too snugly in the mold of down-home Southern storytelling, but she supports their sentimental trappings with harsher truths. (Sept.)Forecast: Lincoln has already been the subject of a number of feature stories in national publications since she won a major writing prize as a graduating senior and 34-year-old single mother at Washington College in Maryland. A 12-city author tour and national print advertising are supporting this title, but it may fall between the cracks, being too literary for readers of commercial African-American fiction and too soft focus to succeed as literary fiction.
,

From Booklist
In a series of 12 interconnected short stories, Lincoln tells of the life of black people in a small Maryland town. A young boy sees the power shift from his mother to himself when he discovers her unfaithfulness. After years of wishing her father dead, a young girl struggles with the guilt she feels when he suddenly dies in a drunken accident. A dying father looks back over his life, strewn with the disappointments and humiliations wrought by racism and his own weaknesses. A young woman returns home from the city with a baby in her arms and faces the shame of the community as she tries to reestablish her place there. The stories move back and forth in time, examining some events from the perspective of different characters, as Lincoln weaves the coming-of-age stories with stories of failed marriages, death, births, moving--all the joys and tribulations of life. Her stories evoke the small-town intimacies seen in friendships betrayed, marriages despoiled, and young girls seduced by the allure of train whistles. Lincoln is a gifted storyteller. --Vanessa Bush Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved