Caucasia

Danzy Senna (Author)
Available

Description

Birdie and Cole are the daughters of a black father and a white mother, intellectuals and activists in the civil rights movement in Boston in the 1970s. The sisters are so close that they have created a private language, yet to the outside world they can't be sisters: while Cole looks like her father's daughter, Birdie appears to be white. For Birdie, Cole is the mirror in which she can see her own blackness. Then their parents marriage falls apart. Their father moves in with his black girlfriend, who won't even look at Birdie, and their mother seems to be more and more out of control, giving her life over to the movement. At night the sisters watch mysterious men arrive at their house with bundles shaped like rifles. One night, through the attic windows Birdie watches her father and his girlfriend drive away with Cole - they have gone to Brazil, she will later learn, where her father hopes for a racial equality he will never have in the States. And the next morning, in the belief that the Feds are after them, Birdie and her mother have left everything behind: their house and possessions, their friends, and - most disturbing of all - their identity. Passing as the daughter and wife of a deceased Jewish professor, Birdie and her mother drive through the Northeast, eventually making their home in New Hampshire. Desperate to find her sister, yet afraid of betraying her mother and herself to some unknown danger, Birdie must learn to navigate the white world and the pains of adolescence - until she is finally prepared to set off in search of her sister.

Product Details

Price
$16.00  $14.72
Publisher
Riverhead Books
Publish Date
February 01, 1999
Pages
413
Dimensions
5.1 X 1.0 X 7.9 inches | 0.7 pounds
Language
English
Type
Paperback
EAN/UPC
9781573227162
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Danzy Senna's first novel, Caucasia, was the winner of the Book-of-the-Month Club's Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction and an American Library Association Alex Award. It was a finalist for an International IMPAC Dublin Award, and was a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year. Her short fiction and essays have been widely anthologized. She is a recipient of the 2002 Whiting Writers' Award and currently holds the Jenks Chair of Contemporary American/Letters at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Reviews

"Lucid and magnificent."—James McBride, author of The Color of Water



"The visual conundrums woven through Danzy Senna's remarkable first novel [will] cling to your memory. There's Birdie, who takes after her mother's white, New England side of the family—light skin, straight hair. There's her big sister, Cole, who takes after her father, a radical black intellectual. It's the early seventies, and black-power politics divide their parents, who divide the sisters; Cole disappears with their father, and Birdie goes underground with their mother...Senna tells this coming-of-age tale with impressive beauty and power."—Newsweek



"[An] absorbing debut novel...Senna superbly illustrates the emotional toll that politics and race take on one especially gutsy young girl's development as she makes her way through the parallel limbos between black and white and between girl and young woman...Senna gives new meaning to the twin universal desires for a lost childhood and a new adult self by recounting Birdie's struggle to become someone when she can look and act like anyone."—The New York Times Book Review



"Extraordinary...A cross between Mona Simpson's Anywhere But Here and James McBride's The Color of Water, this story of a young girl's struggle—to find her family, her roots, her identity—transcends race even while examining it. A compelling look at being black and being white, Caucasia deserves to be read all over."—Glamour



"Brilliant...a finely nuanced story that explores the matter of race through the eyes and heart of another white black girl."—Ms.



"Senna brings an accomplished voice to this vivid coming-of-age tale, offering images sweet and sorrowful of a child caught on the fault line between races."—USA Today