• Share
  • Read Later
In Dorothy West's upper-middle class African-American community on Martha's Vineyard, light has always been right and shadings of color are measured with precision. When the 88-year-old West was a child, as she relates in her new story collection (Doubleday; 254 pages; $22), her family included cousins "pink and gold and brown and ebony," and her mother used to say "Come on, let's drive the white folks crazy." This gentle, lighthearted approach has been a hallmark of West's writing since the 1930's, when she first tasted fame as a young member of the Harlem Renaissance. Although too-easy plotting weakens the collection, says TIME's John Skow "West's strength is as a witness to a long-gone world."