Three-Fifths, A Novel

Posted in Books, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Novels, Passing, United States on 2019-09-11 01:18Z by Steven

Three-Fifths, A Novel

Agora (an imprint of Polis Books)
2019-09-10
240 pages
5.5” x 8’5”
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-947993-67-9
eBook ISBN: 978-1-947993-82-2

John Vercher

The very first title from Agora, the new Polis Books imprint dedicated to crime fiction from diverse and underrepresented voices. Available in hardcover and ebook September 10, 2019.

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 is passing for white. Raised by his bigoted maternal grandfather, Bobby has hidden his truth from everyone, even his best friend and fellow comic-book geek, Aaron, who has just returned home from prison a hardened racist. Bobby’s disparate worlds collide when his and Aaron’s reunion is interrupted by a confrontation where Bobby witnesses Aaron assault a young black man with a brick. Fearing for his safety and his freedom, Bobby must keep his secret from Aaron and conceal his unwitting involvement in the hate crime from the police. But Bobby’s delicate house of cards crumbles when his father enters his life after more than twenty years.

Three-Fifths is a story of secrets, identity, violence and obsession with a tragic conclusion that leave all involved questioning the measure of a man, and was inspired by the author’s own struggles with identity as a biracial man during his time as a student in Pittsburgh amidst the simmering racial tension produced by the L.A. Riots and the O.J. Simpson trial in the mid-nineties.

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Q&A with Clinician Turned Novelist, John Vercher ’16MFA

Posted in Articles, Arts, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2019-08-18 21:50Z by Steven

Q&A with Clinician Turned Novelist, John Vercher ’16MFA

Southern New Hampshire University
Newsroom
2019-08-06

Rebecca LeBoeuf, Staff Writer

John Vercher and the text John Vercher '16MFA, Mountainview Low-Residency MFA in Fiction.

John Vercher ’16MFA didn’t think he had what it takes to make a career out of writing, so he went to school to be a clinician instead. After spending more than a decade feeling unhappy in his role, he decided to revisit his passion for writing.

Since Vercher hadn’t written regularly in a while, he knew going back to school was a smart move. Not only would it immerse him in the discipline and craft again, but it could even result in a publishable book.

And it did. Three years after Vercher graduated from Southern New Hampshire University’s (SNHU) Mountainview Low-Residency MFA program, he published his thesis and debut novel, “Three-Fifths,” out this September…

Read the entire interview here.

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Loving Day, And The Fluidity Of Racial Identity

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2017-06-12 13:53Z by Steven

Loving Day, And The Fluidity Of Racial Identity

Cognoscenti
WBUR 90.9 FM
Boston, Massachusetts
2017-06-12

John Vercher

Today, June 12, marks the 50th anniversary of the landmark Loving v. Virginia decision that invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage and made my existence, well, legal.

At 50 years young, the decision that allowed people like my parents — who could see past shades of melanin — to marry anyone they pleased is holding strong.

More or less.

It wasn’t until the year 2000 that 60 percent of Alabama voters finally elected to honor the Supreme Court’s decision, and remove anti-miscegenation laws from their state constitution. A whole 60 percent!

But they did it. And that’s a cause for celebration.

It’s also the perfect opportunity to take a look at privilege. Specifically, mine

Read the entire article here.

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The Unbearable Whiteness Of Being

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2017-05-10 18:36Z by Steven

The Unbearable Whiteness Of Being

WBUR 90.9 FM
Boston, Massachusetts
2017-05-02

John Vercher


I’m raising my sons to be proud of their blackness, writes John Vercher. But they’ll benefit from their lighter skin. (Ayo Ogunseinde/Unsplash)

I used to make fun of my Pop’s Afro. Then, as now, he took meticulous care of it. I remember with such clarity the way he used to trim it in the mirror of our basement bathroom. The way he leaned over the sink to wash it, neck craned under the faucet to keep the shampoo from running in his eyes. The way he styled and shaped it to geometric perfection. That Afro was the epitome of cool.

Except to me. His natural, his turtlenecks under his leather jackets, his ankle-high leather boots, made him a walking anachronism. An outdated Richard Roundtree; Shaft in the wrong time.

I envied that hair, though I didn’t know it at the time. I still do. Not only for myself but also for my sons. I am a biracial black man, but I was not blessed with my father’s good hair. His loose curls plus my mother’s arrow-straight locks left me with a shock more Prince than Angela Davis; skin more Dwayne Johnson than Wesley Snipes. A child of the 70s, my parents let my hair grow long and wavy and so I heard that question, as early as grade school; the question that dogged me through high school, followed me to college, nipped at my heels through adulthood, until I shaved my thinning hair:

“What are you, exactly?”…

Read the entire article here.

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