Boy, Snow, Bird: A Novel

Posted in Books, New Media, Novels, Passing on 2014-03-04 04:43Z by Steven

Boy, Snow, Bird: A Novel

Riverhead Press (an imprint of Penguin Press)
2014-03-06
320 pages
5.74 x 8.58in
Hardcover ISBN: 9781594631399

Helen Oyeyemi

From the prizewinning author of Mr. Fox, the Snow White fairy tale brilliantly recast as a story of family secrets, race, beauty, and vanity.

In the winter of 1953, Boy Novak arrives by chance in a small town in Massachusetts, looking, she believes, for beauty—the opposite of the life she’s left behind in New York. She marries a local widower and becomes stepmother to his winsome daughter, Snow Whitman.

A wicked stepmother is a creature Boy never imagined she’d become, but elements of the familiar tale of aesthetic obsession begin to play themselves out when the birth of Boy’s daughter, Bird, who is dark-skinned, exposes the Whitmans as light-skinned African Americans passing for white. Among them, Boy, Snow, and Bird confront the tyranny of the mirror to ask how much power surfaces really hold.

Dazzlingly inventive and powerfully moving, Boy, Snow, Bird is an astonishing and enchanting novel. With breathtaking feats of imagination, Helen Oyeyemi confirms her place as one of the most original and dynamic literary voices of our time.

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Elsie’s Business

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Novels on 2014-02-14 01:57Z by Steven

Elsie’s Business

University of Nebraska Press
2006
216 pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8032-9865-1

Frances Washburn, Associate Professor of American Indian Studies and English
University of Arizona

Beaten, raped, and left for dead at the side of a road on the Standing Rock Reservation, young Elsie Roberts disappears into her self to revisit the haunts of her childhood and, perhaps, the depths of her experience to uncover the deepest mystery of all. In Elsie’s Business, Elsie’s search through her own memories ultimately intersects with the search of a stranger who is seeking Elsie’s story.

A picture emerges of a poor child, half black and half Native, whose mother has barely eked out a living for the two of them by tanning deerskins and cleaning houses. Rebuilding her life in a different town as a housekeeper, tanner, and beader of moccasins and bags, much like her mother, the taciturn Elsie finds modest comfort and connections among the white people who employ and befriend her. But her peace is fleeting, for someone from her past, or possibly her present, would like to see her silenced completely. A mystery of mesmerizing suspense and sadness, Elsie’s Business weaves the story of a ravaged woman into the traditional tales of her people to create a vivid sense of communities bound by storytelling and understanding and sundered by ignorance and silence.

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Flight: A Novel

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Novels, Passing, United States on 2014-01-25 18:12Z by Steven

Flight: A Novel

Louisiana State University Press
April 1998 (Originally published in 1926)
304 pages
5.50 x 8.50 inches
Paperback ISBN: 9780807122808

Walter White (1893-1955)

Published amid controversy in 1926, Flight focuses on the dilemma of Mimi Daquin, a light-complexioned African American woman who passes, for a time, as white. In the New Orleans of her birth, Mimi never encountered the hierarchies of skin color that existed elsewhere. But when her family moves to Atlanta, she embarks on a lifelong lesson about what it really means to belong to a people. From the Atlanta riot of 1906 to her shameful expulsion from black bourgeois society because of an out-of-wedlock pregnancy, to her working-class status in Philadelphia and Harlem, Mimi eventually decides to escape her miseries by passing for white in New York City. There, her success exceeds her expectations but even so cannot quell a recurrent yearning.

Walter White (1893–1955), a blond-haired, blue-eyed African American, was a native of Atlanta and an adopted New Yorker. His other works are the novel Fire in the Flint and an autobiography, A Man Called White. He was a major figure in the NAACP for more than three decades.

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The Widows

Posted in Books, Canada, Media Archive, Novels, Women on 2013-12-26 23:25Z by Steven

The Widows

NeWest Press
April 1998
256 pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-896300-30-6

Suzette Mayr

Hannelore, Clotilde, and Frau Schnadelhuber are three old women tired of living in a world which does not allow old women to be seen or heard. Deciding to shake their fists at such a world, the three women plot to go over Niagara Falls in a bright orange space-age barrel. With the assistance of Cleopatra Maria, the 26-year-old genius granddaughter of Hannelore and grandniece of Clotilde, the four women steal the barrel from a travelling show and drive it across Canada determined to prove their worth to a world devoted to youth.

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Moon Honey

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Novels on 2013-12-26 19:52Z by Steven

Moon Honey

NeWest Press
September 1995
224 pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-896300-00-9

Suzette Mayr

In this modern, magical tale, Carmen and Griffin, young and white, are goofy, head-over-heels in love. When Carmen turns into a black woman, Griffin thrills at a love turned exotic. But Carmen’s transformation means trouble for Griffin’s racist mother, already struggling with a new lover and a husband nicknamed God. The question is, can love be relied on to save the day?

Moon Honey is an inventive, funny, sexy tale of love affairs and magical transformations.

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The Women

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Novels, Women on 2013-11-21 00:35Z by Steven

The Women

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
1996
160 pages
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches
Paperback ISBN: 9780374525293; ISBN10: 0374525293

Hilton Als, Staff Writer
The New Yorker

A New York Times Notable Book

Daring and fiercely original, The Women is at once a memoir, a psychological study, a sociopolitical manifesto, and an incisive adventure in literary criticism. It is conceived as a series of portraits analyzing the role that sexual and racial identity played in the lives and work of the writer’s subjects: his mother, a self-described “Negress,” who would not be defined by the limitations of race and gender; the mother of Malcolm X, whose mixed-race background and eventual descent into madness contributed to her son’s misogyny and racism; brilliant, Harvard-educated Dorothy Dean, who rarely identified with other blacks or women, but deeply empathized with white gay men; and the late Owen Dodson, a poet and dramatist who was female-identified and who played an important role in the author’s own social and intellectual formation.

Hilton Als submits both racial and sexual stereotypes to his inimitable scrutiny with relentless humor and sympathy. The results are exhilarating. The Women is that rarest of books: a memorable work of self-investigation that creates a form of all its own.

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My Basmati Bat Mitzvah

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Media Archive, Novels, Religion on 2013-10-22 03:09Z by Steven

My Basmati Bat Mitzvah

Amulet Books
2013-10-01
256 pages
5 1/2 x 8 1/4
Hardcover ISBN: 1-4197-0806-6

Paula J. Freedman

During the fall leading up to her bat mitzvah, Tara (Hindi for “star”) Feinstein has a lot more than her Torah portion on her mind. Between Hebrew school and study sessions with the rabbi, there doesn’t seem to be enough time to hang out with her best friend Ben-O—who might also be her boyfriend—and her other best friend, Rebecca, who’s getting a little too cozy with the snotty Sheila Rosenberg. Not to mention working on her robotics project with the class clown Ryan Berger, or figuring out what to do with a priceless heirloom sari that she accidentally ruined. Amid all this drama, Tara considers how to balance her Indian and Jewish identities and what it means to have a bat mitzvah while questioning her faith.

With the cross-cultural charm of Bend It Like Beckham, this delightful debut novel is a classic coming-of-age story and young romance with universal appeal.

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The Buddha of Suburbia

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Novels, United Kingdom on 2013-10-09 02:40Z by Steven

The Buddha of Suburbia

Penguin Press
1990
288 pages
5.07 x 7.83in
Paperback ISBN: 9780140131680

Hanif Kureishi

Karim Amir lives with his English mother and Indian father in the routine comfort of suburban London, enduring his teenage years with good humor, always on the lookout for adventure—and sexual possibilities. Life gets more interesting, however, when his father becomes the Buddha of Suburbia, beguiling a circle of would-be mystics. And when the Buddha falls in love with one of his disciples, the beautiful and brazen Eva, Karim is introduced to a world of renegade theater directors, punk rock stars, fancy parties, and all the sex a young man could desire. A love story for at least two generations, a high-spirited comedy of sexual manners and social turmoil, The Buddha of Suburbia is one of the most enchanting, provocative, and original books to appear in years.

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The Counterfeit Family Tree of Vee Crawford-Wong

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Media Archive, Novels on 2013-10-03 23:47Z by Steven

The Counterfeit Family Tree of Vee Crawford-Wong

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
July 2013
368 pages
Hardcover ISBN: 9781442412644
eBook ISBN: 9781442412668

L. Tam Holland

A hysterically funny debut novel about discovering where you come from—even if you have to lie to get there.

When Vee Crawford-Wong’s history teacher assigns an essay on his family history, Vee knows he’s in trouble. His parents—Chinese-born dad and Texas-bred Mom—are mysteriously and stubbornly close-lipped about his ancestors. So, he makes it all up and turns in the assignment. And then everything falls apart.

After a fistfight, getting cut from the basketball team, offending his best friend, and watching his grades plummet, one thing becomes abundantly clear to Vee: No one understands him! If only he knew where he came from… So Vee does what anyone in his situation would do: He forges a letter from his grandparents in China, asking his father to bring their grandson to visit. Astonishingly, Vee’s father agrees. But in the land of his ancestors, Vee learns that the answers he seeks are closer to home then he could have ever imagined.

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Cane River: A Novel

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Novels, United States on 2013-09-23 03:24Z by Steven

Cane River: A Novel

Grand Central Publishing
2001
560 pages
5-1/4″ x 8″
Paperback ISBN-13: 9780446678452

Lalita Tademy

The “New York Times” bestseller and Oprah’s Book Club Pick—the unique and deeply moving epic of four generations of African-American women based on one family’s ancestral past.

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