9781631495380 198

The World Doesn't Require You



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Established by the leaders of the country’s only successful slave revolt in the mid-nineteenth century, Cross River still evokes the fierce rhythms of its founding. In lyrical prose and singular dialect, a saga beats forward that echoes the fables carried down for generations—like the screecher birds who swoop down for their periodic sacrifice, and the water women who lure men to wet deaths.

Among its residents—wildly spanning decades, perspectives, and species—are David Sherman, a struggling musician who just happens to be God’s last son; Tyrone, a ruthless PhD candidate, whose dissertation about a childhood game ignites mayhem in the neighboring, once-segregated town of Port Yooga; and Jim, an all-too-obedient robot who serves his Master. As the book builds to its finish with Special Topics in Loneliness Studies, a fully-realized novella, two unhinged professors grapple with hugely different ambitions, and the reader comes to appreciate the intricacy of the world Scott has created—one where fantasy and reality are eternally at war.

Contemporary and essential, The World Doesn’t Require You is a “leap into a blazing new level of brilliance” (Lauren Groff) that affirms Rion Amilcar Scott as a writer whose storytelling gifts the world very much requires.


“Scott’s interweaving story collection covers generations and defies genre restrictions in a series of wry, magically tinged character studies. The book affirms Scott, who won awards for his first collection Insurrection, as a major unique literary talent.” — Entertainment Weekly

“A bold new talent emerges with this boundary-shattering collection of linked stories set in fictional Cross County, Maryland, founded by the leaders of America’s only successful slave uprising. Characters range from robots to sons of God in these magical realist stories about race, religion, and violence. Think of it as Faulkner meets Asimov.” — Adrienne Westenfeld, Esquire

“Scott joins a growing tradition of African-American authors fusing the folksy dystopian humor of George Saunders with the charged satire of Ishmael Reed, and expands on it brilliantly.” — Boris Kachka, Vulture

“You'll no doubt find yourself highlighting passages over and over again, consistently marveling over the author's storytelling genius.” — Quinn Keaney, Popsugar

“Powerful and revelatory.” — Erin Keane, Salon

“Each time I open to a passage I love, I think this man is a national treasure of a writer… What brilliance between the pages.” — Jacqueline Woodson, author of Another Brooklyn and Brown Girl Dreaming

“Rion Amilcar Scott doesn’t hold back or tiptoe around issues about race. He’s the most courageous writer I know; and this collection is an excellent example and significant achievement. He’s now made his mark as a force to reckon with.” — Nicole Dennis-Benn, author of Patsy

“I've been a fan of Rion Amilcar Scott's for years, but I was astonished by The World Does Not Require You, which seems a leap into a blazing new level of brilliance: it is a wild, restless, deeply intelligent collection of stories, each of which resists and subverts the limits of categorization. What a beautiful book.” — Lauren Groff, author of Florida and Fates and Furies

“Surreal, intertextual, and darkly comical stories... Rion Amilcar Scott writes in the tradition of George Schuyler and Ishmael Reed but with a distinctive wry, playful voice that is wholly his own. With breathtaking cruelty and devastating humor, Scott adduces the whole world in one community.” — Nafissa Thompson-Spires, author of Heads of the Colored People

“In the midst of a renaissance of African American fiction, Rion Amilcar Scott's stories stand at the forefront of what's possible in this vanguard. Funny, sad, and always moving, these stories explore what it means to call a place like America home when it treats you with indifference or terror. The people in these stories are unforgettable, their lives recognizable, their voices, as written by Scott, wholly original.” — Kaitlyn Greenidge, author of We Love You, Charlie Freeman

The World Doesn't Require You is a wholly inventive, mesmerizing, genre-bending whirlwind of a book. I am utterly blown away by Rion Amilcar Scott's boundless talent and imagination.” — Jami Attenberg, author of All Grown Up

“Flat-out unputdownable. The fictional town of Cross River, MD sits at the heart of this dazzling collection—home to water-women and a wayward lecturer secretly dwelling in the basement of a university building and the last son of god, to myth and wonder and sorrow. With these innovative, refreshing, and altogether thrilling stories, Rion Amilcar Scott once again shows his readers that he is a blazingly original talent, a vital voice.” — Laura van den Berg, author of The Third Hotel

“This soaring collection firmly places Cross River within the canon of American literature and confirms Scott as one of the most unique, powerful writers of his generation. We are so lucky.” — Randa Jarrar, author of Him, Me, Muhammad Ali: Stories

“Scott’s signature blend of tenderness and world-weary wise-cracking and magical realism buoys the reader with strength and a deeply intelligent hope. You won’t find Cross River on any map, but its people and their stories are real and solid and demand to be heard.” — Cari Luna, author of The Revolution of Every Day

“Mischievous, relentlessly inventive stories whose interweaving content swerves from down-home grit to dreamlike grotesque.... Mordantly bizarre and trenchantly observant, these stories stake out fresh territory in the nation's literary landscape.” — Kirkus Reviews [starred review]

“Scott’s bold and often outlandish imagination makes for stories that may be difficult to define, but whose emotional authenticity is never once in doubt.” — Publishers Weekly [starred review]

“Reminiscent of classic isolated-world fantasies like The Martian Chronicles (1950) and Kirinyaga (1998).... Scott’s imagery and unique voice blend horror, satire, and magical realism into an intoxicating brew.” — Lesley Williams, Booklist