A Feature Review of
The Fire This Time:
A New Generation Speaks about Race
Jesmyn Ward, Ed.
Reviewed by Amy Neftzger
The Fire This Time is a collection of essays compiled by National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward, who received that award in 2011 for her novel Salvage the Bones. Both the contents and title of The Fire This Time are a response to James Baldwin’s book The Fire Next Time, but this response is one that has been a long time coming. One need only turn on the evening news to see that not much has changed since Baldwin published his book in 1962. This new collection of literary work has taken up the baton in the relay marathon for racial equality. It seems that each generation has hoped for progress, and perhaps sometimes it feels as if we’re getting somewhere, but as soon as we turn around we see that we’ve taken very few steps from the starting line and there are still miles to go.