If I Had Two Wings marked Randall Kenan's triumphant return to fiction, 28 years after his previous collection. Tragically, Kenan passed away less than a month after publication, leaving his readers to treasure all the more these stories of primarily Queer, Black characters living in the American South. Recommended By Adam P., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
In Kenan's fictional territory of Tims Creek, North Carolina, an old man rages in his nursing home, a parson beats up an adulterer, a rich man is haunted by a hog, and an elderly woman turns unwitting miracle worker. A retired plumber travels to Manhattan, where Billy Idol sweeps him into his entourage. An architect who lost his famous lover to AIDS reconnects with a high-school fling. Howard Hughes seeks out the woman who once cooked him butter beans.
Shot through with humor and seasoned by inventiveness and maturity, Kenan riffs on appetites of all kinds, on the eerie persistence of history, and on unstoppable lovers and unexpected salvations. If I Had Two Wings is a rich chorus of voices and visions, dreams and prophecies, marked by physicality and spirit. Kenan's prose is nothing short of wondrous.
“Kenan…successfully strikes a balance between fancy and finesse, arranging stories so that characters connect naturally and easily, which builds credibility and secures readers’ engagement. But what makes this collection remarkable is its wings.” Chicago Review of Books
“Ten artful stories conjure contemporary North Carolina, mouthwatering and matter-of-factly haunted.” Kirkus
About the Author
Randall Kenan (1963-2020) was the former chancellor of the Fellowship of Southern Writers and a professor of English and comparative literature at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He lived in Hillsborough, North Carolina.