Instead of linking directly to Ann Petry's "Like a Winding Sheet," I have instead linked to the list where I first heard of the story, "17 Essential Short Stories Written by Women," compiled by Rebecca Kelley for Bustle (a direct link to Petry's story can be found there). I'd already read a good many on the list, and knowing how good those were, felt that any unknown story was probably pretty good as well, and randomly chose the Ann Petry story. My theory panned out: it's a great story.
"Like a Winding Sheet" has themes of race, gender, and there's a case to be made for class as well. Which sounds like a lot to take on in such a short space, but I think that's a myth created by the polarized world of the Internet age: that we can only tackle one issue at a time, that one need trumps another. Petry also handles the story of an overworked black man with a rich complexity that also seems to have gone out of favour. This is an intelligent, emotional read.
by Adalie Plain