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We cast a shadow : a novel

by Ruffin, Maurice Carlos,

Format: Print Book [2019]
Availability: Available at 15 Libraries 24 of 65 copies
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Summary
"An incisive and necessary" (Roxane Gay) debut for fans of Get Out and Paul Beatty's The Sellout , about a father's obsessive quest to protect his son--even if it means turning him white

"Stunning and audacious . . . at once a pitch-black comedy, a chilling horror story and an endlessly perceptive novel about the possible future of race in America."--NPR

" You can be beautiful, even more beautiful than before. " This is the seductive promise of Dr. Nzinga's clinic, where anyone can get their lips thinned, their skin bleached, and their nose narrowed. A complete demelanization will liberate you from the confines of being born in a black body--if you can afford it.

In this near-future Southern city plagued by fenced-in ghettos and police violence, more and more residents are turning to this experimental medical procedure. Like any father, our narrator just wants the best for his son, Nigel, a biracial boy whose black birthmark is getting bigger by the day. The darker Nigel becomes, the more frightened his father feels. But how far will he go to protect his son? And will he destroy his family in the process?

This electrifying, hallucinatory novel is at once a keen satire of surviving racism in America and a profoundly moving family story. At its center is a father who just wants his son to thrive in a broken world. Maurice Carlos Ruffin's work evokes the clear vision of Ralph Ellison, the dizzying menace of Franz Kafka, and the crackling prose of Vladimir Nabokov. We Cast a Shadow fearlessly shines a light on the violence we inherit, and on the desperate things we do for the ones we love.

Praise for We Cast a Shadow

"Love is at the core of this funny, beautiful novel [that] asks some of the most important questions fiction can ask, and it does so with energetic and acrobatic prose, hilarious wordplay and great heart. . . . We Cast a Shadow churns fresh beauty from old ugliness. . . . Read this book, and ask yourself: Is this the world you want?" --Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah , The New York Times Book Review

"A full-throated novelistic debut of ferocious power and grace . . . a story that refracts the insanity of the world into a shape so unique you wonder how this book wasn't there all along." -- Lit Hub, Most Anticipated Books of 2019

"Propulsive . . . We Cast a Shadow proves that the eeriest works of speculative fiction are those that hit closest to home." -- Vulture, 37 Books We Can't Wait to Read in 2019
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "*Starred Review* I liked my java so black, the police planted evidence on it, says the wry, self-aware, yet ultimately self-defeating narrator of this trenchant satire. Hired (after a humiliating competition) as the black face of a racist corporation, he embarks on a relentless, single-minded quest to medically demelanize his biracial son, Nigel. Nothing, not the contempt of his wife and mother nor the physical and psychological anguish of his child, will deter him from rescuing the teenager from life as a black man. Set in a disturbingly familiar near future, where entire black neighborhoods are imprisoned in the name of security and the bad blacks can be denuded and deported under the Dreadlock Ordinance, Ruffin's debut novel is a harsh indictment of a society that views blackness as a disorder and that forces black men to choose between self-respect and survival. Nigel's demel procedure may be poisonous, but no more so than the radioactive white folk . . . who can't help but hurt you like what made cancer. Unlike his well-meaning white wife, Nigel's father is under no illusions, for after all, what was equality other than a typographical error in the Constitution? Brilliant and devastating.--Lesley Williams Copyright 2018 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Ruffin's brilliant, semisatirical debut stars an unnamed narrator who's all but consumed by his blackness. Forced to become the "committed to diversity" face of his law firm and the pawn of an insidious ad campaign headed by powerful, flirtatious shareholder Octavia Whitmore, the narrator suffers through one indignity after another. He endures a routinely racist police stop and learns that Octavia "fantasized about wearing blackface" and then there's the historical revisionism at the school his mixed-race teenage son Nigel attends, where teachers insist that "every schoolboy knows the Civil War didn't start because of slavery." The narrator only wants Nigel to be spared the dread of being young and black in America. In fact, he's been forcing Nigel to apply skin-lightening cream over the objections of his wife, Penny, and is planning to submit Nigel to an experimental plastic surgery procedure that he hopes will visibly erase his heritage and break the long chain of prisons, prejudice, and limited career options that characterize the narrator's own forebears (his father is incarcerated, a fact that brings the narrator nothing but shame). And yet this is only the setup for a story that suddenly incorporates the violent interventions of a militarized cell of protesters, and hastens the narrator, Nigel, Penny, and Octavia toward a set of separate fates that are both harrowing and inevitable. Though Ruffin's novel is in the vein of satires like Paul Beatty's The Sellout and the film Get Out, it is more bracingly realistic in rendering the divisive policies of contemporary America, making for a singular and unforgettable work of political art. Agent: PJ Mark, Janklow & Nesbit Assoc. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects African Americans -- Fiction.
Satirical literature.
Publisher New York :[2019]
Edition First edition.
Language English
Description 324 pages ; 25 cm
ISBN 9780525509066
0525509062
Other Classic View