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Pushkin and the Queen of Spadesby Alice Randall
Synopses & Reviews
Windsor Armstrong is a polished, Harvard-educated African American professor of Russian literature. Her son, Pushkin X, is an exceedingly famous pro football player, an achievement that impresses his mother not at all. Even more distressing, however, is that her beloved son has just become engaged to a gorgeous white Russian emigré who also happens to be a lap dancer.
For Windsor, this is no laughing matter. Determined to get to the source of it, she embarks on a journey into her own rich past: to her Motown childhood, where love came disguised as a sharply dressed gangster; to Harvard, where she endured the humiliation of being an unwed black teen mother; to Russia and the brilliant poet Alexander Pushkin, great-grandson of an African slave. As she moves ever closer to the secret that has cast a shadow over her life, she discovers that the half-lies she has fed her son don't add up to the beauty of the truth.
Balancing sharp-witted humor with profundity, sexiness with pyschological depth, Pushkin and the Queen of Spades is an exhilarating ride straight through the racially divided heart of contemporary America that probes the universal question of what it means to be a good mother.
"With this heady tale, Randall proves decisively that she is more than a parodist." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"In this restless, brainy, heartfelt, and sometimes maddeningly elliptical work, Ms. Randall aims to leave no stereotype unchallenged..." Julie Salamon, The New York Times
"The reader may learn more about Windsor than they care to, but sprinkled throughout her confessions are strikingly true insights and epiphanies." Library Journal
Balancing sharp-witted humor with profundity, sexiness with psychological depth, this exhilarating ride through the racially divided heart of contemporary America probes the universal question of what it means to be a good mother.
Windsor Armstrong has a problem: her brilliant boy, Pushkin X, has become a football superstar and is planning to marry a Russian lap dancer. In Windsor's opinion, Pushkin is throwing away every good thing she has given him. When she was an unwed teen mother, Windsor attended Harvard, leaving her shady Detroit roots behind. She raised her son to be fiercely intelligent, well-spoken, and proud. Now he lives for pro football and a white woman of no account. Outraged by her son's decisions but devoted to loving him right, Windsor prepares to give up her last secret: the identity of Pushkin's father.
About the Author
Alice Randall was born in Detroit and graduated from Harvard in 1981. After a start as a journalist in Washington, D.C., she moved to Nashville to become a country songwriter. The only African-American woman ever to write a number-one country song, she has had more than twenty songs recorded. She is also a screenwriter and has worked on adaptations of Their Eyes Were Watching God, Parting the Waters, and Brer Rabbit. Her first novel, The Wind Done Gone, was a national bestseller.
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