Houman Barekat

Scene by Scene

Whatever Happened to Interracial Love?


Granta Books 175pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

The African-American film-maker Kathleen Collins (1942–88) packed a lot into a life cut cruelly short by cancer. A civil rights activist in the 1960s, she turned to screenwriting in the 1970s, achieving critical success with her 1982 film Losing Ground and writing several plays, including In the Midnight Hour (1978) and The Brothers (1980). The material collected in Whatever Happened to Interracial Love? hadn’t seen the light of day until the New York imprint Ecco Press published it for the first time in late 2016, so there is a temptation to regard it with the condescension befitting a cultural curio – as the dabblings of an artist working outside her medium. On the contrary, however, these short stories are a case study in how a keen cinematic sensibility can energise prose fiction: Collins teases narrative out of pregnant exchanges, epistolary fragments and freeze-framed vistas to produce a vivid snapshot of a singular moment in 20th-century social history.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Tarantino's latest film is 'a fairy tale about Hollywood, where fantasy is an industrial product and the boulevards… ,
    • 'I don’t think we’re here on Earth to be Happy. I think we’re here on Earth to help God. I am a messianic writer'.… ,
    • 'Darley’s book is not a mad dash through this most compelling and complex of English counties. Nor is it another ti… ,
    • 'Moser’s book offers such a gripping account of a profoundly damaged human being, trapped in a cycle of repetition,… ,
    • 'Ideas that I’d thought were set down in full continue to smoulder ... this book is only a snapshot of some larger… ,
    • 'Full of invention which, at its most pedestrian, is eminently Victorian, and at its most unrestrained wildly imagi… ,
    • 'What in other hands could have been a dry, pedantic account of Christianity’s birth and evolution becomes in Holla… ,