Meet Behind Mars

Meet Behind Mars Review

"I feel like I can't tell one story about a giant mustard penis because it's not about a mustard penis only, but about all of these incidents together, in context, and through time." So begins the title story in Renee Simms's debut short story collection, Meet Behind Mars-a revealing look at how geography, memory, ancestry, and desire influence our personal relationships.

In many of her stories, Simms exposes her own interest in issues concerning time and space. For example, in "Rebel Airplanes," an L.A. engineer works by day on city sewers and by night on R-C planes that she yearns to launch into the cosmos. The character-driven stories in Meet Behind Mars offer beautiful insight into the emotional lives of caretakers, auto workers, dancers, and pawn shop employees. In "High Country," a frustrated would-be novelist considers ditching her family in the middle of the desert. In "Dive," an adoptee returns to her adoptive home, still haunted by histories she does not know. Simms writes from the voice of women and girls who struggle under structural oppression and draws from the storytelling tradition best represented by writers like Edward P. Jones, whose characters have experiences that are specific to black Americans living in the late twentieth and twenty-first centuries. One instance of this is in "The Art of Heroine Worship," in which black families integrate into a white suburb of Detroit in the 1970s.

The stories in this collection span forty years and two continents and range in structure from epistolary to traditionally structured realism, with touches of absurdity, humor, and magic. Meet Behind Mars will appeal to readers interested in contemporary literary fiction.

Title:Meet Behind Mars

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    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Roxane

    Outstanding short story collection. Excellent characterization in each story. I loved the range of characters and their circumstances as well as the settings from Detroit to Los Angeles to the Pacific...

  • Columbus

    4.5 starsThis little book of short stories has been compared stylistically to the works of Toni Cade Bambara and Edward P. Jones. I would probably throw in Rion Amilcar Scott as another fine example o...

  • Dominique

    This is a collection of short stories with some of the most richly imagined characters and settings I've read this year. Each story takes readers on a field trip from Arizona to Louisiana to Michigan,...

  • Rebel Women Lit

    HER STORY: parallels and nuances of Black Female Experiences in Reene Simm’s Meet Behind MarsMeet Behind Mars is a well-crafted, well presented collection of eleven short stories that vary in lengt...

  • Hans Ostrom

    This is one of the best collections of short fiction I have read in a very long time. Simms is an exceptionally deft writer, gifted with an eye for the crucial details. The stories chiefly concern Afr...

  • Sarah

    This is the most I’ve loved a non-queer book in... maybe ever? Dominique at Storyscape put it on my radar, and turns out the author lives and teaches in Seattle. Renee Simms crafts stories that are ...

  • Garren

    A short story collection that's often about frustrated hopes and dreams of middle aged Black women. Late 20th century historical fiction to extemely contemporary realistic fiction. Magical realism in ...

  • Michelle

    every one of these stories was enjoyable! I tend to get bored with short story collections because the characters are all too similar or only a couple of the stories are good, but each of these storie...

  • Jacob

    Everyone, please read this. Renee Simms is a star. Speaking of stars if I could give this six I would. Absolutely stunning....

  • Nardia

    HER STORY: parallels and nuances of Black Female Experiences in Reene Simm’s Meet Behind MarsMeet Behind Mars is a well-crafted, well presented collection of eleven short stories that vary in length...