Short Stories

Drinking Coffee Elsewhere

B lives in the north east of England and writes at her blog - Watching Geordie Life. She is not a Geordie and is sorry if people are disappointed by that.


I picked Drinking Coffee Elsewhere by ZZ Packer up in Waterstones.  It was one of the books recommended by staff and I was intrigued.  It's a book of short stories written by an African American writer. I don't think I can be alone in having a bookshelf that is largely dominated by white authors.  Something told me to take a chance on this book, to extend my horizons.

And I am glad I did.  These stories are amazing.  These are some of the most energetic stories I've ever had the privilege to read.  Her characters are so real and effectively drawn that they seem like people who must exist already somewhere.  Our Lady of Peace lasts less than 25 pages but Lynnea's journey from a bad start to a horrific ending but it didn't affect me any less than a full length novel would have.

ZZ Packer is entirely in charge of her craft.  Every single word she uses is exactly right.  The dialogue is real. These are stories of real people, going on somewhere else in the world, in a place that is entirely different from my own world, but that feels familiar when I read about them.

Highly recommended.  I can't wait to read what she comes up with next.

  • This is ZZ Packer's wiki page.
  • Here is an insightful interview with Packer.
  • You can find a review of Drinking Coffee Elsewhere here.
  • If you want a second hand copy of the book then go here.
  • For a new, fresh smelling copy then try here.

Video on artists and writers on not giving up. Featuring Eric Booth, Tom Sleigh, Ruth Forman, Amanda Trager, ZZ Packer, Judit Hersko, and David Mura.

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