The Gilded Years, A Novel

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, Novels, Passing, Women on 2016-04-28 02:23Z by Steven

The Gilded Years, A Novel

Washington Square Press (an imprint of Simon & Schuster)
June 2016
384 pages
Paperback ISBN: 9781501110450
eBook ISBN: 9781501110467

Karin Tanabe
Washington, D.C.

Passing meets The House of Mirth in this “utterly captivating” (Kathleen Grissom, New York Times bestselling author of The Kitchen House) historical novel based on the true story of Anita Hemmings, the first black student to attend Vassar, who successfully passed as white—until she let herself grow too attached to the wrong person.

Since childhood, Anita Hemmings has longed to attend the country’s most exclusive school for women, Vassar College. Now, a bright, beautiful senior in the class of 1897, she is hiding a secret that would have banned her from admission: Anita is the only African-American student ever to attend Vassar. With her olive complexion and dark hair, this daughter of a janitor and descendant of slaves has successfully passed as white, but now finds herself rooming with Louise “Lottie” Taylor, the scion of one of New York’s most prominent families.

Though Anita has kept herself at a distance from her classmates, Lottie’s sphere of influence is inescapable, her energy irresistible, and the two become fast friends. Pulled into her elite world, Anita learns what it’s like to be treated as a wealthy, educated white woman—the person everyone believes her to be—and even finds herself in a heady romance with a moneyed Harvard student. It’s only when Lottie becomes infatuated with Anita’s brother, Frederick, whose skin is almost as light as his sister’s, that the situation becomes particularly perilous. And as Anita’s college graduation looms, those closest to her will be the ones to dangerously threaten her secret.

Set against the vibrant backdrop of the Gilded Age, an era when old money traditions collided with modern ideas, Tanabe has written an unputdownable and emotionally compelling story of hope, sacrifice, and betrayal—and a gripping account of how one woman dared to risk everything for the chance at a better life.

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Pudd’nhead Wilson and Those Extraordinary Twins

Posted in Books, Forthcoming Media, Novels, Passing, United States on 2016-04-28 02:21Z by Steven

Pudd’nhead Wilson and Those Extraordinary Twins

Broadview Press
2016-05-15 (Originally Published in 1894)
304 pages
5½” x 8½”
Paperback ISBN: 9781554812660

Mark Twain

Edited by:

Hsuan L. Hsu, Associate Professor of English
University of California, Davis

The two narratives published together in The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson and the Comedy of Those Extraordinary Twins are overflowing with spectacular events. Twain shows us conjoined twins, babies exchanged in the cradle, acts of cross-dressing and racial masquerade, duels, a lynching, and a murder mystery. Pudd’head Wilson tells the story of babies, one of mixed race and the other white, exchanged in their cradles, while Those Extraordinary Twins is a farcical tale of conjoined twins. Although the stories were long viewed as flawed narratives, their very incongruities offer a fascinating portrait of key issues—race, disability, and immigration—facing the United States in the final decades of the nineteenth century.

Hsuan Hsu’s introduction traces the history of literary critics’ response to these works, from the confusion of Twain’s contemporaries to the keen interest of current scholars. Extensive historical appendices provide contemporary materials on race discourse, legal contexts, and the composition and initial reception of the texts.

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Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings: A Novel

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Novels, United States on 2016-04-11 00:59Z by Steven

Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings: A Novel

Viking Books
2016-04-05
624 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 9780525429968
Ebook ISBN: 9780698410336

Stephen O’Connor

A debut novel about Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, in whose story the conflict between the American ideal of equality and the realities of slavery and racism played out in the most tragic of terms.

Novels such as Toni Morrison’s Beloved, The Known World by Edward P. Jones, James McBride’s The Good Lord Bird and Cloudsplitter by Russell Banks are a part of a long tradition of American fiction that plumbs the moral and human costs of history in ways that nonfiction simply can’t. Now Stephen O’Connor joins this company with a profoundly original exploration of the many ways that the institution of slavery warped the human soul, as seen through the story of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings. O’Connor’s protagonists are rendered via scrupulously researched scenes of their lives in Paris and at Monticello that alternate with a harrowing memoir written by Hemings after Jefferson’s death, as well as with dreamlike sequences in which Jefferson watches a movie about his life, Hemings fabricates an “invention” that becomes the whole world, and they run into each other “after an unimaginable length of time” on the New York City subway. O’Connor is unsparing in his rendition of the hypocrisy of the Founding Father and slaveholder who wrote “all men are created equal,” while enabling Hemings to tell her story in a way history has not allowed her to. His important and beautifully written novel is a deep moral reckoning, a story about the search for justice, freedom and an ideal world—and about the survival of hope even in the midst of catastrophe.

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Blackass: A Novel

Posted in Africa, Books, Media Archive, Novels, Passing on 2016-04-03 20:21Z by Steven

Blackass: A Novel

Graywolf Press
2016-03-01
272 pages
5.5 x 8.25
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-55597-733-7

A. Igoni Barrett

Furo Wariboko, a young Nigerian, awakes the morning before a job interview to find that he’s been transformed into a white man. In this condition he plunges into the bustle of Lagos to make his fortune. With his red hair, green eyes, and pale skin, it seems he’s been completely changed. Well, almost. There is the matter of his family, his accent, his name. Oh, and his black ass. Furo must quickly learn to navigate a world made unfamiliar, and deal with those who would use him for their own purposes. Taken in by a young woman called Syreeta and pursued by a writer named Igoni, Furo lands his first-ever job, adopts a new name, and soon finds himself evolving in unanticipated ways.

A. Igoni Barrett’s Blackass is a fierce comic satire that touches on everything from race to social media while at the same time questioning the values society places on us, simply by virtue of the way we look. As he did in Love Is Power, or Something Like That, Barrett brilliantly depicts life in contemporary Nigeria, and details the double-dealing and code-switching that is implicit in everyday business. But it’s Furo’s search for an identity—one deeper than skin—that leads to the final unraveling of his own carefully constructed story.

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In Due Season

Posted in Books, Canada, Forthcoming Media, Native Americans/First Nation, Novels on 2016-04-01 02:35Z by Steven

In Due Season

Wilfrid Laurier University Press
May 2016
ISBN13: 978-1-77112-071-5

Christine van der Mark (1917–1970)

Afterword by:

Carole Gerson, Professor of English Department
Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Canada

Janice Dowson, Lecturer in English literature and Academic Writing
Simon Fraser University and University of the Fraser Valley

First published in 1947, In Due Season broke new ground with its fictional representation of women and of Indigenous people. Set during the dustbowl 1930s, this tersely narrated prize-winning novel follows Lina Ashley, a determined solo female homesteader who takes her family from drought-ridden southern Alberta to a new life in the Peace River region. Here her daughter Poppy grows up in a community characterized by harmonious interactions between the local Métis and newly arrived European settlers. Still, there is tension between mother and daughter when Poppy becomes involved with a Métis lover. This novel expands the patriarchal canon of Canadian prairie fiction by depicting the agency of a successful female settler and, as noted by Dorothy Livesay, was “one of the first, if not the first Canadian novel wherein the plight of the Native Indian and the Métis is honestly and painfully recorded.” The afterword by Carole Gerson and Janice Dowson provides substantial information about author Christine van der Mark and situates her under-acknowledged book within the contexts of Canadian social, literary, and publishing history.

Christine van der Mark (1917–1970) was born and raised in Calgary. While teaching in rural Alberta schools, she attended the University of Alberta, receiving her B.A. in 1941 and her M.A. in Creative Writing in 1946. Much of her writing expressed sympathetic concern for the Métis of Northern Alberta.

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Pao: A Novel

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Novels on 2016-03-30 01:25Z by Steven

Pao: A Novel

Bloomsbury Publishing
2011-07-12
288 pages
5 1/2″ x 8 1/4″
Paperback ISBN: 9781608195077
EPUB eBook ISBN: 9781608196845

Kerry Young

As a young boy, Pao comes to Jamaica in the wake of the Chinese civil war and rises to become the Godfather of Kingston’s bustling Chinatown. Pao needs to take care of some dirty business, but he is no Don Corleone. The rackets he runs are small time and the protection he provides necessary, given the minority status of the Chinese in Jamaica. Pao, in fact, is a sensitive guy in a wise guy role that doesn’t quite fit. Often mystified by all that he must take care of, Pao invariably turns to Sun Tsu’s Art of War. The juxtaposition of the weighty, aphoristic words of the ancient Chinese sage, and the tricky criminal and romantic predicaments Pao must negotiate goes far toward explaining the novel’s great charm.

A tale of post-colonial Jamaica from a unique and politically potent perspective, Pao moves from the last days of British rule through periods of unrest at social and economic inequality, though tides of change that will bring Rastafarianism and the Back to Africa Movement. Jamaica is transforming: And what is the place of a Chinese man in this new order? Pao is an utterly beguiling, unforgettable novel of race, class and creed, love and ambition, and a country in the throes of tumultuous change.

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The Alienist and Other Stories of Nineteenth-Century Brazil

Posted in Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Novels on 2015-12-22 04:23Z by Steven

The Alienist and Other Stories of Nineteenth-Century Brazil

Hackett Publishing Company
March 2013
ca. 152 pages
Cloth ISBN: 1-60384-853-3; 978-1-60384-853-4
Paper ISBN: 1-60384-852-5; 978-1-60384-852-7
Examination ISBN: 1-60384-852-5; 978-1-60384-852-7

Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis (1839-1908)

Edited by:

John Charles Chasteen, Patterson Distinguished Term Professor of History
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Accompanied by a thorough introduction to “Brazil’s Machado, Machado’s Brazil”, these vibrant new translations of eight of Machado de Assis’s best-known short stories bring nineteenth-century Brazilian society and culture to life for modern readers.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Introduction.
  • 1. To Be Twenty Years Old!
  • 2. The Education of a Poser.
  • 3. The Looking Glass.
  • 4. Chapter on Hats.
  • 5. A Singular Occurrence.
  • 6. Terpsichore.
  • 7. Father Against Mother.
  • 8. The Alienist.
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Loving Day: A Novel

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Novels on 2015-12-22 04:06Z by Steven

Loving Day: A Novel

Spiegel & Grau
2015-05-26
304 Pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4
Hardcover ISBN: 9780812993455
Ebook ISBN: 9780679645528

Mat Johnson

“In the ghetto there is a mansion, and it is my father’s house.”

Warren Duffy has returned to America for all the worst reasons: His marriage to a beautiful Welsh woman has come apart; his comics shop in Cardiff has failed; and his Irish American father has died, bequeathing to Warren his last possession, a roofless, half-renovated mansion in the heart of black Philadelphia. On his first night in his new home, Warren spies two figures outside in the grass. When he screws up the nerve to confront them, they disappear. The next day he encounters ghosts of a different kind: In the face of a teenage girl he meets at a comics convention he sees the mingled features of his white father and his black mother, both now dead. The girl, Tal, is his daughter, and she’s been raised to think she’s white.

Spinning from these revelations, Warren sets off to remake his life with a reluctant daughter he’s never known, in a haunted house with a history he knows too well. In their search for a new life, he and Tal struggle with ghosts, fall in with a utopian mixed-race cult, and ignite a riot on Loving Day, the unsung holiday for interracial lovers.

A frequently hilarious, surprisingly moving story about blacks and whites, fathers and daughters, the living and the dead, Loving Day celebrates the wonders of opposites bound in love.

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A Romance of the Republic

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Novels, Slavery, United States on 2015-12-10 03:19Z by Steven

A Romance of the Republic

University Press of Kentucky
2014-07-11 (Originally published in 1867)
464 pages
6 x 9
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8131-0928-2
Web PDF ISBN: 978-0-8131-4910-3

Lydia Maria Child (1802-1880)

Edited by:

Dana D. Nelson, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee

A Romance of the Republic, published in 1867, was Lydia Maria Child’s fourth novel and the capstone of her remarkable literary career. Written shortly after the Civil War, it offered a progressive alternative to Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Writer, magazine publisher and outspoken abolitionist, Child defied the norms of gender and class decorum in this novel by promoting interracial marriage as a way blacks and whites could come to view each other with sympathy and understanding. In constructing the tale of fair-skinned Rosa and Flora Royal—daughters of a slaveowner whose mother was also the daughter of a slaveowner—Child consciously attempted to counter two popular claims: that racial intermarriage was “unnatural” and that slavery was a benevolent institution. But Child’s target was not merely racism. Her characters are forced both to reconsider their attitudes toward “white” and “black” and to question the very foundation of the patriarchal society in which they live.

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Incognegro, A Graphic Mystery

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Novels, Passing, United States on 2015-11-28 19:06Z by Steven

Incognegro, A Graphic Mystery

Vertigo
2008
136 pages
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-140121097

Mat Johnson, Author

Warren Pleece, Artist

Mat Johnson, winner of the prestigious Hurston-Wright Legacy Award for fiction, constructs a fearless graphic novel that is both a page-turning mystery and a disturbing exploration of race and self-image in America, masterfully illustrated with rich period detail by Warren Pleece (The Invisibles, Hellblazer). In the early 20th century, when lynchings were commonplace throughout the American South, a few courageous reporters from the North risked their lives to expose these atrocities. They were African-American men who, due to their light skin color, could pass for white. They called this dangerous assignment going “incognegro.” Zane Pinchback, a reporter for the New York-based New Holland Herald, is sent to investigate the arrest of his own brother, charged with the brutal murder of a white woman in Mississippi. With a lynch mob already swarming, Zane must stay “incognegro” long enough to uncover the truth behind the murder in order to save his brother — and himself.

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