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Sag Harborby Colson Whitehead
Synopses & Reviews
The time is 1985. Benji, the son of a lawyer and a doctor, is one of the only black kids at an elite prep school in Manhattan. He spends his falls and winters going to roller-disco bar mitzvahs and trying desperately to find a social group that will accept him.
But every summer, Benji and his brother, Reggie, escape to the East End of Sag Harbor, where a small community of African American professionals has built a world of its own. Except Benji is just as confused about this all-black refuge as he is about the white world he negotiates during the school year. He's hopelessly one step behind on every new dance, and his fantasies of hooking up are no match for his own awkwardness, not to mention his braces, his horrid father-cut Afro, or his secret Lite FM addiction.
In this deeply affectionate and fiercely funny coming-of-age novel, Colson Whitehead — using the perpetual mortification of teenage existence and the desperate quest for reinvention — beautifully explores racial and class identity, illustrating the complex rhythms of the adult world.
"Does what writing should do; it refreshes our sense of the world." John Updike, The New Yorker
"Whitehead is making a strong case for a new name of his own: that of the best of the new generation of American novelists."The Boston Globe
"Whitehead [is] one of the city's and country's finest young writers." Chicago Tribune
The warm, funny, and supremely original new novel from one of the most acclaimed writers in America
The year is 1985. Benji Cooper is one of the only black students at an elite prep school in Manhattan. He spends his falls and winters going to roller-disco bar mitzvahs, playing too much Dungeons and Dragons, and trying to catch glimpses of nudity on late-night cable TV. After a tragic mishap on his first day of high school—when Benji reveals his deep enthusiasm for the horror movie magazine Fangoria—his social doom is sealed for the next four years.
But every summer, Benji escapes to the Hamptons, to Sag Harbor, where a small community of African American professionals have built a world of their own. Because their parents come out only on weekends, he and his friends are left to their own devices for three glorious months. And although hes just as confused about this all-black refuge as he is about the white world he negotiates the rest of the year, he thinks that maybe this summer things will be different. If all goes according to plan, that is.
There will be trials and tribulations, of course. There will be complicated new handshakes to fumble through, and state-of-the-art profanity to master. He will be tested by contests big and small, by his misshapen haircut (which seems to have a will of its own), by the New Coke Tragedy of 85, and by his secret Lite FM addiction. But maybe, with a little luck, things will turn out differently this summer.
In this deeply affectionate and fiercely funny coming-of-age novel, Whitehead—using the perpetual mortification of teenage existence and the desperate quest for reinvention—lithely probes the elusive nature of identity, both personal and communal.
About the Author
Colson Whitehead is the author of The Intuitionist, a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award; John Henry Days, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize; and The Colossus of New York and Apex Hides the Hurt, both New York Times Notable Books of the Year.
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