Reviews

Fictional Blues: Narrative Self-Invention from Bessie Smith to Jack White

Clifford Thompson, Los Angeles Review of Books

“Tradition is a crucial part of human life, a way for us to make sense of our existence. The question becomes: How does one carry on a tradition, in the face of changing realities, without being stifled by it? That could be said to be the question at the heart of Kimberly Mack’s illuminating, thought-provoking, refreshingly broad-minded new book, Fictional Blues: Narrative Self-Invention from Bessie Smith to Jack White.”

THE READING ROOM: Sorting Out the Fact and the Fiction in Blues

Henry Carrigan, No Depression

“Mack’s tour-de-force study explores the ways that autobiographical fiction imbues artists with a power to reclaim their identities and to tell their own stories in their own words, with fresh and significant readings and re-readings of artists including Mamie Smith, Ma Rainey, Shug Avery, Robert Johnson, Debbie Bond, Amy Winehouse, Gary Clark Jr., and Rhiannon Giddens.”