Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self

Danielle Evans

09 March 2023
240 pages


'Fiercely independent, all of Evans’s characters struggle for a place in a world intent of fencing them out.' - New York Times Book Review

The extraordinary début short story collection from Danielle Evans, one of the United States' foremost literary talents, is published in the UK for the first time.

A college student's unplanned pregnancy forces her to confront her feelings of resentment toward her more privileged classmates. A father’s misguided attempt to rescue a gift for his adult daughter magnifies all he doesn’t know about her. And two teenage girls’ flirt with adulthood leads to disastrous consequences.

Based in a world where inequality is reality, but where the shifting terrain of adolescence and family are the most complicating forces, Evans’ characters are wry, wise and utterly original. Striking in their emotional immediacy, the electrifying, prize-winning stories in Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self offer a fresh perspective on race and class in contemporary America.

'Danielle Evans is funny as hell' - Victor LaValle, author of Big Machine

'Knife-sharp wit and tender but unflinching eye' - V.V. Ganeshananthan, author of Love Marriage

Danielle Evans's whipsmart first story collection charts the liminal years between childhood and the condition dubiously known as being a grown-up.
There are books that capture our world perfectly, like a scrim over a stage. And then there are books that surprise the audience and go somewhere new, somewhere completely unpredictable. In this collection, Evans paints a picture, sometimes ripping through the fabric. One wonders where she will go next.
Danielle Evans' blisteringly smart short stories offer fresh perspective on being young and black in America. From a vandalizing valedictorian to a rejected biracial child, her characters triumph by surviving without forgetting.