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Three-fifths : a novel

by Vercher, John,

Format: Print Book 2019
Availability: Available at 18 Libraries 18 of 26 copies
Available (18)
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CLP - Beechview Fiction FICTION Vercher
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CLP - Woods Run Fiction Collection FICTION Vercher
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Summary
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE A compelling and timely debut novel from an assured new voice: Three-Fifths is about a biracial black man, passing for white, who is forced to confront the lies of his past while facing the truth of his present when his best friend, just released from prison, involves him in a hate crime.Pittsburgh, 1995. The son of a black father he's never known, and a white mother he sometimes wishes he didn't, twenty-two year-old Bobby Saraceno has passed for white his entire life. Raised byhis bigoted maternal grandfather, Bobby has hidden the truth about his identity from everyone, even his best friend and fellow comic-book geek, Aaron, who has just returned home from prison a newly radicalized white supremacist. Bobby's disparate worlds crash when, during the night of their reunion, Bobby witnesses Aaron mercilessly assault a young black man with a brick. Fearing for his safety and his freedom, Bobby must keep the secret of his mixed race from Aaron and conceal his unwitting involvement in the crime from the police. But Bobby's delicate house of cards crumbles when his father enters his life after more than twenty years, forcing his past to collide with his present.Three-Fifths is a story of secrets, identity, violence and obsession with a tragic conclusion that leaves all involved questioning the measure of a man, and was inspired by the author's own experiences with identity as a biracial man during his time as a student in Pittsburgh amidst the simmeringracial tension produced by the L.A. Riots and the O.J. Simpson trial in the mid-nineties.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Vercher's first novel gets Agora Books, a new imprint dedicated to diverse crime fiction, off to a fast start. Bobby Saraceno is a 22-year-old mixed-race man living in the largely African American neighborhood of Homewood in 1990s Pittsburgh, during the time of the O. J. Simpson trial. Raised by his white, alcoholic mother, Isabel, and racist grandfather, Bobby passes as white, while his best friend and fellow comics nerd Aaron wishes he was Black, though he is ridiculed for adopting the style and mannerisms of the Black kids in the neighborhood. Things change dramatically when Bobby's father, a doctor whom Bobby believes to be dead, walks into the bar where Isabel works. Meanwhile, Aaron, having been incarcerated for drug dealing, returns from prison as a member of the Aryan Brotherhood and promptly assaults a young Black man in Bobby's presence. Bobby's life quickly spirals out of control, his sense of self reeling after he meets his father and struggles with whether he should betray his friend by revealing what he knows about the assault. Vercher, who is also biracial and grew up in Pittsburgh, handles the potentially melodramatic elements of his plot with considerable subtlety, building strong, multifaceted characters with bold strokes and using the tools of noir to present what is finally a full-blown tragedy. This powerful exploration of race and identity pairs well with Steph Cha's superb Your House Will Pay (2019).--Bill Ott Copyright 2010 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Vercher's uneven debut, a crime novel set in 1995 Pittsburgh, Pa., gets off to a fast, violent start. Bobby Saraceno, the 22-year-old son of a single white mother, at first doesn't recognize his best friend, Aaron, an investment banker's son who recently spent three years in prison for selling drugs. Aaron, who hooked up with the Aryan Brotherhood while behind bars, has shaved his head and beefed up. When the two friends go out to eat, Aaron's prison tattoos catch the eye of a young black man, Marcus Anderson. After a hostile verbal exchange, the ex-con hits Marcus in the head with a brick. The panicky Bobby drives away from the scene with Aaron. Marcus is transported to the ER, where he's treated by Robert Winston, an unhappily married black doctor, who later heads to a bar to drown his sorrows. There Winston encounters Bobby's mom, Isabel, whom he doesn't recognize, though they once had a fling. Isabel, who knows he's Bobby's father, doesn't identify herself. More coincidences follow as this gritty tale of race in America swerves into soap opera involving Isabel's efforts to bring Winston and Bobby together. The contrived plot might work better on the big screen than it does on the page. Agent: Michelle Richter, Fuse Literary. (Sept.)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Racially mixed people -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh -- Fiction.
Passing (Identity) -- Fiction.
Hate crimes -- Fiction.
Ex-convicts -- Fiction.
Pittsburgh (Pa.) -- Fiction.
Publisher Hoboken, NJ :2019
Edition First hardcover edition.
Other Titles 3/5
3 5ths
Language English
Description 212 pages ; 23 cm
ISBN 9781947993679
1947993674
Other Classic View