The Office of Historical Corrections

The Office of Historical Corrections (1)


The award-winning author of Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self brings her signature voice and insight to the subjects of race, grief, apology, and American history.

Named one of the best books of 2020 by Kirkus Reviews, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, Barnes & Noble, Library Journal, Buzzfeed, The Undefeated, Slate, Glamour, and O Magazine

The Office of Historical Corrections is a finalist for The Joyce Carol Oates Prize, The Aspen Words Literary Prize and the L.A Times Book Prize. It was a finalist for The Story Prize, and longlisted for The PEN/Faulkner Award.

The collection was a November IndieNext pick and a December Book of the Month Club selection

Reviews and Press :

“Evans writes about injustices large and small with incredible subtlety and, often, wry wit… Necessary narratives, brilliantly crafted.”

«KIRKUS, starred review «

“Evans writes with a wealth of knowledge of American history, serving as a catalyst for both the prisons and the freedoms her characters are allowed to explore. She dives into the generational wounds from America’s violent racial past and present, and crafts her stories with a surgeon’s precision. Each detail meticulously builds on the last, leading to satisfying, unforeseeable plot twists. ” «BOOKLIST, starred review «

The New Yorker ‘s extended review calls the collection “sublime short stories of race and belonging” and also notes in brief “Evans uses outré imaginative elements . . .  but grounds her narratives in the familiar—family illnesses, fraught relationships with exes, complicated reckonings with race. ”

The Washington Post calls the book a “magnificent, searing collection” and says that the stories “cover a full spectrum of parallel and overlapping White and Black lives, while looking unflinchingly at the impact of multiple forms of violence and constraint. . . . the sorrows personal but also deeply historical. . . Other stories, such as ‘Richard of York Gave Battle in Vain,’ further illustrate Evans’s considerable range, particularly for original, affecting portrayals of grief and intimacy. . . .Evans’s closing novella, also on the theme of grief, takes on additional resonance since the Jan. 6 mob attack at the U.S. Capitol. . . . Reminiscent at times of Octavia Butler’s world-building in ‘Kindred,’ it’s a vivid, matter-of-fact, science-fiction-tinged portrayal of a fictitious government agency . . . Yet the novella’s success as an immersive work comes from its steady focus on Black love — specifically, love between friends. Evans portrays friendship as a form of thoughtful and high-stakes debate, a deep engagement that can survive the more superficial competition that exists because of tokenization and the constant pressure to show, as the novella’s narrator Cassie does, that she ‘is one of the reasonable ones.'”

The Nation says “There is a rhythm to Danielle Evans’s writing that can, on the surface, betray the tensions roiling beneath the stories she tells. She writes about the haunting nature of memory, grief, and desire with a piercing subtlety that refuses any sort of cliché terms of closure . . . This collection is full of characters who attempt to escape, confront, or try their best to wade through circumstances that have quietly upended their lives, and Evans painstakingly outlines their aches. There are truths and there are the truths we tell ourselves, and the space between those two poles can be wide. There is a frailty to resolution that rejects prescription or guarantee. Tending to this fragility is part of Evans’s mastery, and it just might be the way to traverse the gap.”

The Wall Street Journal: “…the stories perceptively touch on current controversies like cancel culture and the disputes over historical monuments. But these are, first and foremost, character-driven stories, and the arguments play out most forcefully in the minds of the young black women searching for some livable balance between guilt and forgiveness. Ms. Evans is also funny in a droll, puncturing way, as inclined to mine trauma for mordant humor as for sentimentality.”

The New York Times : “Evans’s propulsive narratives read as though they’re getting away with something, building what feel like novelistic plots onto the short story’s modest real estate.”

The Chicago Review of Books : ” The stories are tightly structured, compact and efficient, driven by wry wit and Evans’s keen observations. . . The success of the collection stems from balancing the gloom of racism with Evans wry commentary.

USA Today calls the collection “exhilarating and timely… so smart and self-assured it’s certain to thrust her into the top tier of American short story writers.”

“What makes a good short story? Danielle Evans’ dynamite new collection proves a study in the form. Slices of life, each piece . . . captures its own mood, hums to distinct rhythms, and locates unique spaces for empathy and pain and catharsis. They’re also delectably readable, propulsive accounts of loss and fear and redemption that twist with O. Henry-level glee. . . . the titular novella to finish the book, a masterpiece of tension and mystery.” – Entertainment Weekly

People Magazine featured the collection as “book of the week” and says: “Evans’ stories crackle with humor and intelligence, as well as anger and sorrow”.

The Los Angeles Times: “One of the saving graces of the last few years is the abundance of sharp fiction that deftly dramatizes racial injustice and division in this country. Evans goes further than most, though, in exploring divisions within the Black community — including the sort of ‘internalized capitalism’ that could, for instance, make a Black celebrity support a racist president.”

The Washington City Paper : Evans is a master of revealing the cracks in her protagonists with a single sentence . . . Evans is a master of prose, constantly spinning sentences that leave readers winded . . . Her command of language keeps her ambitious plotting grounded and makes her characters irresistible. Her work is firmly moral but never moralizing. Impressively, The Office of Historical Corrections’ stories all feel fundamentally finished, so despite their skill, the reader’s never left wanting more from the characters. If anything, you’ll just want more of Evans’ books.”

“Lean and precisely crafted, Evans’ stories often interrogate her characters’ charged presents by way of their sorrowful pasts.” – AV Club

The Minneapolis Star Tribune writes “Evans pays close attention to the power of appearance – not only the visibility of race, but also glittery notions of femininity . .  in Evans’ stories, the most intriguing moments are the fissures in these willfully built narratives.

Colorlines features the collection as a Book to Get You Through Fall: “Danielle Evans dissects our complicated relationships and attitudes around race in the seven short stories of her novella.”

“We’re obsessing over . . . .  ‘The Office of Historical Corrections. . . short stories . . . each of them look at nuanced moments and interpersonal relationships that speak to larger conversations about race, ever-evolving cultural rules, and U.S. history. And, perhaps most importantly, the book reveals how Black and multiracial characters in its stories grapple with American history, grief, and the complexities of right versus wrong—very much like how they are now. . . . Evans tackles her characters’ fragility, fear, and bravery with breathtaking nuance and storytelling smarts.” – Apartment Therapy

“Evans doesn’t hold back in her timely, engrossing, and powerful new collection of short stories about race, history, grief, and culture. It’s one of the best short story collections of the year.” – HelloGiggles 

“[S]howcasing her continued command of short fiction. The title novella manages to combine George Orwell’s bureaucratic chill from ‘1984’ with Toni Morrison’s elegant judgments from ‘Beloved.’” – Washington Post

The Office of Historical Corrections, a novella, is presented here along with other stories that chronicle how history — racial and cultural — continue to reverberate through daily life. Danielle Evans continues to write provocative fiction about people of color, raising questions about who gets to dictate our national narrative.” – The Chicago Tribune

“Evans’s storytelling shines… her characters are sharp, with terrific depth, and her prose is a pleasure to read. It’s a strong, acerbic follow-up to her prizewinning 2010 release.” – The Washington Post

“Evans’ new, gorgeously crafted stories are at once timely and timeless… Evans has a wicked sense of humor and is a keen observer of her characters’ exterior and interior lives… The novella from which the book takes its title is a moving, surprising tale… This intricately plotted novella ends explosively.” – Poets & Writers

“These scorching stories… take a headlong plunge into the murky waters of identity, race, and love.” – O, The Oprah Magazine

“If you’re ordinarily bored by short story collections, we can empathize—which is why you’ll want to trust us when we say that this one is worth making an exception for… Danielle Evans’s characters are so messy, compelling, and deeply human that you won’t be able to turn away.” – Harper’s Bazaar

“In the ten years since Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self, readers have waited anxiously for Danielle Evans’ next outing; at last, The Office of Historical Corrections is here, and it exceeds all expectations. In seven sly, haunting stories, Evans reflects our madcap world back at us, delivering a dazzling dissection of our twisted attitudes about race, culture, history, and truth. In one memorable story, a white college student is desperate to reinvent herself after a photo of her in a Confederate bikini goes viral; in another, a historian works to uncover the truth of a long-past racist tragedy. Incisive, nuanced, and deliciously complex, each of these stories proves that Evans is a bravura talent.” – Esquire

“One is truly never the same after reading a short story by Danielle Evans… It is safe to say, then, that we must prepare for her second collection of short stories The Office of Historical Corrections.” – Lit Hub

“Evans… releases a hotly anticipated new story collection, exploring the subjects of race, American history and grief with her signature insight.” – USA Today

“Danielle Evans’s newest book, further solidifies her well-earned reputation as one of the most incisive, resonant writers working today. In it, Evans brilliantly reflects and dissects contemporary crises surrounding race, identity, and America, using her fierce wit to target the kind of white college student who goes viral thanks to a photo showing her wearing a Confederate flag bikini/ But it’s in the titular novella, in which a Black woman living in Washington, D.C. starts investigating a historical mystery that has stakes both personal and societal, that Evans will really blow your mind, leaving you to put the pieces back together.”
– Refinery29

“Really shows Evans’ capabilities… It’s the most astonishing thing I’ve read this fall.” – BuzzFeed

Advanced Praise:

Praise for The Office of Historical Corrections was included in Fall 2020 book previews from The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, O Magazine, Esquire, CBS Sunday Morning, The Millions, Buzzfeed, Bustle, Hey Alma, Lithub, Refinery29, The Rumpus, and Vulture

“Danielle Evans is a stone-cold genius, in possession of both a merciless eye and a merciful heart. And she keeps getting better.” —Rebecca Makkai, National Book Award finalist for The Great Believers

“A dazzling collection. Contemporary life in Danielle Evans’s stories has a kind of incandescent and dangerous energy: even in moments of somberness or isolation, her characters crackle with heat, light, and self-awareness.”—Kelly Link, author of Get In Trouble
“To say that Danielle Evans is one of the best writers of her generation ignores the simple fact that she is one of America’s best writers, period. And to limit her to her own generation overlooks the keen eye Evans has placed on the continuum of American history and all its attendant complications of race, gender, class, popular culture, and representation. Evans wields these issues like a sly, acerbic blade, and she uses it to cut to the quick.” – Wiley Cash, New York Times-bestselling author of The Last Ballad

“With the seven brilliant stories in The Office of Historical Corrections, Danielle Evans demonstrates, once again, that she is the finest short story writer working today. These stories are sly and prescient, a nuanced reflection of the world we are living in, one where the rules are changing, and truth is mutable and resentments about nearly everything have breached the surface of what is socially acceptable. These stories are wickedly smart and haunting in what they say about the human condition… Her language is nimble, her sentences immensely pleasurable to read, and in every single story there is a breathtaking surprise, an unexpected turn, a moment that will leave you speechless, and wanting more.” – Roxane Gay,  New York Times-bestselling author of Difficult Women and Bad Feminist

“Danielle Evans writes stories that make the world stop. Her work is so good that when you sit down with it, everything else ceases to exist. The stories in The Office of Historical Corrections move and breathe. The book is a beating heart. Magnificent.” – Kristen Arnett, New York Times-bestselling author of Mostly Dead Things