Book Review: The Office of Historical Corrections by Danielle Evans

  I say this every single time that I read/review short stories, but I’m not usually a short stories type of girl. But it seems they’ve...


I say this every single time that I read/review short stories, but I’m not usually a short stories type of girl. But it seems they’ve been growing on me. I particularly enjoyed The Office of Historical Corrections, which focused on women’s experiences, particularly women of color. Each story is raw and beautifully developed. You’ve got enough time to really get the grasp of the characters, but what’s so alluring about these stories is the examination of the human condition.

Back cover synopsis: Danielle Evans is widely acclaimed for her blisteringly smart voice and X-ray insights into complex human relationships. With The Office of Historical Corrections, Evans zooms in on particular moments and relationships in her characters’ lives in a way that allows them to speak to larger issues of race, culture, and history. She introduces us to Black and multiracial characters who are experiencing the universal confusions of lust and love, and getting walloped by grief—all while exploring how history haunts us, personally and collectively. Ultimately, she provokes us to think about the truths of American history—about who gets to tell them, and the cost of setting the record straight.
In “Boys Go to Jupiter,” a white college student tries to reinvent herself after a photo of her in a Confederate-flag bikini goes viral. In “Richard of York Gave Battle in Vain,” a photojournalist is forced to confront her own losses while attending an old friend’s unexpectedly dramatic wedding. And in the eye-opening title novella, a black scholar from Washington, DC, is drawn into a complex historical mystery that spans generations and puts her job, her love life, and her oldest friendship at risk.

While I actually enjoyed all of the stories fairly equally, I really enjoyed “Richard of York Gave Battle in Vain.” I think it really spoke to how women can not exactly like each other but can still support each other which is so crucial in a society that often pits women against each other.

The last story of the book is the titular story, which is less of a short story and more of a novella. And it’s a beautiful tale of how history has been so rewritten to whitewash, how the history we are taught is very much that of the revisionist. It’s a story about finding truth and understanding is what has long been hidden.

"I distrusted, in general, appeals to nostalgia--I loved the past of archives, but there was no era of the past I had any inclination to visit with my actual human body, being rather fond of it having at least minimal rights and protections." - The Office of Historical Corrections, Danielle Evans

I loved this book. I loved these stories. And while I don’t often reread, I could absolutely see myself rereading these stories.

Goodreads rating: ★★★★★

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