Short Story of the Day #10: "The Devil in America" by Kai Ashante Wilson

Short Story of the Day #10: “The Devil in America” by Kai Ashante Wilson

One family’s magical legacy intertwines with the ongoing trauma of slavery in this Reconstruction-set short from the author of The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps. Blades line every moment of “The Devil in America,” so sharp that you don’t realize you’re bleeding until it’s far too late.

Why “The Devil in America”?

In many ways, Wilson’s novelette feels like a spiritual successor to Beloved. The magic in young Easter’s world is nothing if not mean and spiteful. Satan himself takes the form of a Confederate soldier, and the “angels” Easter frees seem to function more by faerie logic than by faith.

When I finished reading “The Devil in America,” I realized that there was ever only one way the story could end. If anything, that realization only magnified the utter bleakness of the final paragraphs. This is an intense, difficult, and masterful read.

My favorite line:

Teach me, Ma’am, your heart must be saying. But I can’t, Easter, cause it’s gone. Gone for good. They drove us off the path into a wild night, and when morning came we were too turned around, too far from where we started, to ever find our way again.

Click here to read “The Devil in America.”

Want more Short Stories of the Day? Click here to view the full series and subscribe here to get weekly updates for all my posts!

Image credit: Jukka Heinovirta on Unsplash