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Tales of the Out & the Gone


Controversial literary legend Amiri Baraka’s new short story collection—an Essence Magazine best-seller—will shock and awe.

$19.95 $14.96

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What people are saying…

“Baraka is a poet down to his bones . . . [The stories] evoke a mood of revolutionary disorder, conjuring an alternative universe in which a dangerous African-American underground, or a dangerous literary underground—hell, any kind of an underground—still exists . . . In his prose as in his poetry, Baraka is at his best a lyrical prophet of despair who transfigures his contentious racial and political views into a transcendent, ‘outtelligent’ clarity.”
New York Times Book Review, Editors’ Choice

“These stories are so out there that at times they leave you wondering what you just read, but in a good, this is how a truly singular voice sounds way . . . The difficulty and strength of Baraka’s writing is its sincerity. It is the memory of all that has passed, reflecting all he has seen and been told . . .”
San Francisco Chronicle

“Baraka remains a prodigiously skilled writer . . . Ultimately, those most familiar with Baraka as a rabble-rousing poet may be surprised that his prose can so readily make one squirm as well as smile.”
Time Out New York

“Baraka has a rich and distinctive voice . . . The collection records a marvelously vital and creative mind at work.”
Library Journal

“A- . . . [A]n eccentric brew of sci-fi and social commentary.”
Entertainment Weekly

“4 stars.”
Time Out Chicago

“In his signature politically piercing and poetic staccato style, Baraka offers a perspective on social and political changes and a fresh view of the possibilities that language presents in exploring human passions . . . Fans and newcomers alike will appreciate Baraka’s breadth of political perspective and passion for storytelling.”

“Throughout, Baraka makes his prose jump with word coining—’outtelligent,’ ‘overstand’—and one-liners. But the humor and off-the-wall jaunts, however whacked-out, tackle real issues of race, otherness and power with pointed irony.”
New York Press

“Baraka unabashedly steps on toes, but does it in such a way that you close the book thanking him for it . . . [R]efreshing from both ideological and technical perspectives. His books cannot be read casually.”
Idaho Statesman

“Amiri Baraka’s writing possesses a remarkable balance of poetry and politics, passion and polemic. His voice is unmistakeable. His point of view uncompromising. This collection just adds to his imposing legacy.”
Nelson George, author of The Death of Rhythm and Blues

“What can be said about Baraka’s work that would be new? That the energy is unremitting, the focus unwavering, the anger burning into a crystal rage, the questions disquieting and unnervingly raw? Perhaps that there is also tenderness here, something like light breathing on a New York street. In this groundbreaking collection of stories—vintage, new, and previously unseen—the words don’t play nice, they demand that you listen, and you do and you are glad for it.”
Chris Abani, author of Becoming Abigail and GraceLand


Comprised of short fiction spanning the early 1970s to the twenty-first century—most of which has never been published—Tales of the Out & the Gone reflects the astounding evolution of America’s most provocative literary anti-hero.

The first section of the book, “War Stories,” offers six stories enmeshed in the volatile politics of the ’70s and ’80s; the second section, “Tales of the Out & the Gone,” reveals Baraka’s increasing literary adventurousness, combining an unpredictable language play with a passion for abstraction and psychological exploration.

Throughout, Baraka’s unique and constantly changing literary style will educate readers on the evolution of one of America’s most accomplished literary masters of the past four decades.

Table of Contents

War Stories
New & Old (1974)
Neo-American (1975)
Norman’s Date (1981–82)
From War Stories (1982)
Mondongo (1983)
Blank (1985)

Tales of the Out & the Gone
Northern Iowa: Short Story & Poetry

The New Recreation Program (1988)
Mchawi (1990–91)
The Rejected Buppie (1992)
A Little Inf (1995)
Dig This! Out? (1995)
Heathen Technology at the End of the Twentieth Century (1995)
Rhythm Travel (1995)
Science & Liberalism (1996)
What Is Undug Will Be (1996)
Dream Comics (1997)
A Letter (1998)
Conrad Loomis & the Clothes Ray (1998)
The Used Saver (1998)
My Man Came by the Crib the Other Day . . . (1999)
A Monk Story (2000)
Retrospection (2000)
The Pig Detector (2000)
Post- and Pre-Mortem Dialogue (2003)


Book Details

  • Paperback: 221 pages
  • Published: 1/1/07
  • IBSN: 9781933354125
  • e-IBSN: 9781617750076


AMIRI BARAKA/LEROI JONES (1934–2014) was the author of numerous books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. He was named poet laureate of New Jersey by the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, from 2002–2004. His short story collection Tales of the Out & the Gone (Akashic Books) was a New York Times Editors’ Choice and won a 2008 PEN/Beyond Margins Award. He is also the author of Home: Social Essays, Black Music, The System of Dante’s Hell, and Tales, among other works.

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