Sunday, July 03, 2005

"Black Boy" by Kay Boyle

Somewhere on the Atlantic seaboard, a young girl rides her horse in the foam and befriends the African-American teenager who pushes her petulant grandfather along the boardwalk in a wheeled chair. In stories of this vintage, you just know this is going to lead to trouble. Read by Scoot.

Kay Boyle thought she might become either an architect or a violinist before she fell into the disreputable life of a writer. Once she had relocated to Paris (a much better place to lead a disreputable life than Cincinatti, where she had spent the majority of her childhood), she became friends with Harry and Caresse Crosby, whose infamous Black Sun Press published her first collection of stories in a typically elegant edition. Soon she became associated with the avant-garde magazine transition, so it is perhaps a little surprising that eventually she became a regular New Yorker type of gal. But she remained controversial, getting herself blacklisted by Senator McCarthy and railing against America's dubious involvement in Southeast Asia (getting thrown into prison twice for doing so). Both the NAACP and Amnesty International claimed her as a member, and she was making noise all the way up to her death in 1992 at the age of 90. Somehow she got a lot of writing done, too, including poetry (such as This is Not a Letter and Other Poems), short fiction (including Nothing Ever Breaks Except the Heart), novels (Plagued by the Nightingale being representative), and nonfiction (Being Geniuses Together among them).

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