A young black girl watches as her aunt’s multiple suitors disrupt her family’s privacy. The same girl, now on the cusp of adulthood, shares her family’s growing fears that her father has disappeared. Acclaimed author Ann Petry penned these and the other unforgettable narratives in Miss Muriel and Other Stories more than seventy years ago, yet in them contemporary readers recognize characters who exist today and dilemmas that recur again and again: the reluctance of African Americans to seek help from the police, the rage that erupts in a black man worn down by brutality, the tyranny that the young can visit on their elders regardless of race. Originally published between 1945 and 1971, Petry’s stories capture the essence of African American experience since the 1940s.
"Miss Muriel and Other Stories adds more tenor to questions that surely have haunted fans of [Petry's] novels . . . Black women’s voices matter, yet they are often silenced, ignored, or relegated to the margins of popular discourse . . . Some eight decades after Ann Petry penned the first words that would make their way into Miss Muriel, let us give her the audience she deserves." —Jamilah Lemieux, from the foreword
"But Petry's stories, like her novels, refuse to settle for easy truths. In Miss Muriel, individuals, their relationships with others, and their communities are clearly formed by human bias, not just harmed by it." —Hilary Holladay, author of Tipton
“Ann Petry is an important, if underappreciated, American writer. The first to provide emotionally complex portraits of urban working-class African Americans, particularly women, Petry wrote fiction that is original, compelling, and timeless. Her political and aesthetic sensibilities continue to inform and influence new generations of writers, critics, and literary theorists.”--Farah Jasmine Griffin, Columbia University
"Miss Muriel and Other Stories is timeless. Petry's sense of place, subtly drawn characters, and exploration of complex ethical questions, especially when race and gender collide, make these classic examples of the American short story."—Barbara Smith, author of The Truth That Never Hurts: Writings on Race, Gender, and Freedom