Shaming the Devil: Collected Short Stories

James, Winston G. Shaming the Devil: Collected Short Stories. Hollywood: Top Pen Press, 2009. paperback. 176p. $14.95. ISBN: 0977079708.

Cover art for Shaming the Devil

Talented author G. Winston James delivers erotically-charged stories that delve into the entangled wants and desires of same gender loving black men. Fervor and beauty ever present, he takes the reader on a journey into the gay black male experience with some stories that will shock readers, and make them want to holler, while others resonate deeply in the souls of men who have experienced homosexual urges from boyhood.

The first story, “Uncle,”  is an innocent, yet subtle antidote about a six-year-old dealing with queer feelings for his uncle that he doesn’t understand, while “Confining Room” speaks directly to homosexuality.

In the moving story “Church,” a young black man named Langston who is infected with AIDS returns home with a plan to “check” his family church for their arbitrary treatment and castigation of African American males who somehow fell into the gay “lifestyle.” Lyrically, James paints the church environment and Langston’s decisions in the deliverance of his seemingly magical life cut short, along with his deep rooted, but unfounded beliefs in a church he feels was unsupportive. After opening his eyes and his heart, Langston finds the welcoming bosom of his church family and the spirit of the Lord ready to caress him and his distraught mother with unconditional love. “God grants them the gift of life…It’s not for any man to tell God’s children how to live.”

Reminiscent of Genet’s Our Lady of the Flowers, James’ dynamic storytelling reveals his ability to create stories that entice readers to want to read more and more. Highly recommended for public libraries.

Reviewed by: Michelle D. Dartis
MLS degree candidate
Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis

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