C. Liegh McInnis is quite obviously in the tradition of Mississippi storytellers, the gifted talkers who make the odds and ends of everyday seem unfamiliar. C. Liegh also belongs to a generation of post-integrationist African Americans who feel caged by the legacy of civil rights history and the contemporary atmosphere of American nihilism. Thus, the sketches and tales of Jackson, Mississippi direct our gazes toward the reduction of Blackness to states of despair. If “Transition,” the opening story in this collection, resonates Richard Wright as it pinpoints one motive for migration from the rural to the urban, his other stories and scripts immerse us in the darkness of Sapphire’s PUSH and the heavy anger of emerging black writers.
C. Liegh’s energies are best displayed in the tight construction of the short stories because he manages to keep real the integration of setting, plot, psychological texture, and narrative voice. His short fiction gives habitation to the truism that “music and literature keep a young girl safe in her apartment, while the outside world spins inward on itself, like a carnivorous black hole.” He is on target about the too often exorbitant price of existence in the mall of social exchanges.
C. Liegh McInnis’ vision is very strong, uncompromisingly Black and Southern. Nevertheless, his future as a writer is at a crossroad. Scripts is a tantalizing sampler of what might emerge as he critiques the actual to discover motives that might inspire the wretched of the Earth to hold fast to life.
Dr. Jerry W. Ward, Lawrence Durgin
Professor of Literature-Tougaloo College