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The Professor's Daughter

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The Professor's Daughter Cover

ISBN13: 9780805075069
ISBN10: 0805075062
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A daughter's future and her father's past converge in this explosive first novel exploring identity, assimilation, and the legacy of race.

"My father is black and my mother is white and my brother is a vegetable." When Emma Boudreaux's older brother, Bernie, winds up in a coma after a freak accident, it's as if she loses a part of herself. All their lives, he has served as her compass, her stronger, better half: Bernie was brilliant when Emma was smart, charismatic when she was awkward, and confident when she was shy. Only Bernie was able to navigate — if not always diplomatically — the terrain of their biracial identity. Now, as the chronic rash that's flared up throughout her life returns with a vengeance, Emma is sleepwalking through her first year at college, left alone to grow into herself.

The key to Emma's self-discovery lies in her father's past. Esteemed Princeton professor Bernard Boudreaux is emotionally absent and secretive about his family history. Little does Emma know just how haunted that history is, how tortured the path from the Deep South town to his present Ivy League success has been. Though her father and brother are bound by the past, Emma might just escape.

In exhilarating, magical prose, The Professor's Daughter traces the borderlands of race and family, the contested territory that gives birth to rage, confusion, madness, and invisibility. This striking debut marks the arrival of an astonishingly original voice that surges with energy and purpose.

Review:

"A thoughtful, satisfying meditation on race and family history, Raboteau's novel is that rare debut by a young author that stands out not for its stylistic swagger or precocity, but for its simple grace and absolute wisdom. The title character, Emma Boudreaux, and her 'twin' brother, Bernie, are the products of an interracial marriage and an unconventional household. But while Bernie embraces his blackness, Emma is less sure about who she is; still, she chooses to defer to her brother and their shared 'skin.' As an adolescent she only vaguely grasps the mysterious legacy of her black father, who went from an impoverished, segregated Mississippi childhood — his own father having been publicly lynched — to an esteemed academic career at Princeton University. That her father is often absent from family life only deepens Emma's connection with her brother. But when Bernie falls into a coma after a freak accident, Emma, now a freshman at Yale, is forced to reevaluate her identity. With shifting points of view, the novel weaves together unexpected fragments, like a paper Emma 'wrote' for a post-colonial African novel class and her comatose brother's lucid dreams. Drawing from the traditions of African storytelling, the novel maps a mythically rich terrain without ever leaving the confines of American realism. Raboteau, who has already won awards for her fiction, has an assured voice that illuminates pain as acutely as love, and this book flaunts her exceptional storytelling talents." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"[An] engaging first novel....The Professor's Daughter movingly takes the African-American tradition of the mixed-race figure into the 21st Century." Chicago Tribune

Review:

"Part literary saga, part litany of righteous parables: an impassioned, poetic work that offers commitment as compensation for its overdeterminism." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"The world that Emily Raboteau has so wonderfully created here is at turns harsh, beautiful, strange, and always real. The language of this novel is lyrical, yet precise, at once dissecting the notion of biracial existence and, correctly, stripping it of any currency. This work is unflinchingly intelligent." Percival Everett, author of Erasure

Synopsis:

A daughter's future and her father's past converge in this explosive first novel exploring identity, assimilation, and the legacy of race, and marking the arrival of an astonishingly original voice that surges with energy and purpose.

Synopsis:

"My father is black and my mother is white and my brother is a vegetable." When Emma Boudreaux's older brother winds up in a coma after a freak accident, she loses her compass: only Bernie was able to navigate--if not always diplomatically--the terrain of their biracial identity. And although her father and brother are bound by a haunting past that Emma slowly uncovers, she sees that she might just escape.

In exhilarating prose, The Professor's Daughter traces the borderlands of race and family, contested territory that gives rise to rage, confusion, madness, and invisibility. This astonishingly original voice surges with energy and purpose.

Synopsis:

A daughter's future and her father's past converge in this explosive first novel exploring identity, assimilation, and the legacy of race

"My father is black and my mother is white and my brother is a vegetable." When Emma Boudreaux's older brother, Bernie, winds up in a coma after a freak accident, it's as if she loses a part of herself. All their lives, he has served as her compass, her stronger, better half: Bernie was brilliant when Emma was smart, charismatic when she was awkward, and confident when she was shy. Only Bernie was able to navigate-if not always diplomatically-the terrain of their biracial identity. Now, as the chronic rash that's flared up throughout her life returns with a vengeance, Emma is sleepwalking through her first year at college, left alone to grow into herself.

The key to Emma's self-discovery lies in her father's past. Esteemed Princeton professor Bernard Boudreaux is emotionally absent and secretive about his family history. Little does Emma know just how haunted that history is, how tortured the path from the Deep South town to his present Ivy League success has been. Though her father and brother are bound by the past, Emma might just escape.

In exhilarating, magical prose, The Professor's Daughter traces the borderlands of race and family, the contested territory that gives birth to rage, confusion, madness, and invisibility. This striking debut marks the arrival of an astonishingly original voice that surges with energy and purpose.

Emily Raboteau holds an M.F.A. in creative writing from New York University, where she was a New York Times Fellow. She is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, the Chicago Tribune's Nelson Algren Award for Short Fiction, and a New York Foundation of the Arts Fellowship. Her stories have been published in Tin House, The Missouri Review, and Best American Short Stories 2003. Raboteau lives in Brooklyn and teaches creative writing at the City College of New York.
A daughter's future and her father's past converge in this explosive first novel about identity, assimilation, and the legacy of race in America. When Emma Boudreaux's older brother, Bernie, winds up in a coma after a freak accident, it's as if she loses a part of herself. All their lives, he has served as her compass, her stronger, better half: Bernie was brilliant when Emma was smart, charismatic when she was awkward, and confident when she was shy. Only Bernie was able to navigate—if not always diplomatically—the terrain of their biracial identity. Now, as the chronic rash that's flared up throughout her life returns with a vengeance, Emma is sleepwalking through her first year at college, left alone to grow into herself.

The key to Emma's self-discovery lies in her father's past. Esteemed Princeton professor Bernard Boudreaux II is emotionally absent and secretive about his family history. Little does Emma know just how haunted that history is, how tortured the path has been from his Deep South roots to his present Ivy League success. But although her father and brother are bound by the past, Emma herself might just escape.

In exhilarating, spark-throwing prose, The Professor's Daughter traces the borderlands of race and family, the contested territory that gives birth to rage, confusion, madness, and invisibility. This striking debut novel marks the arrival of an astonishing voice, one that surges with energy and purpose.

"Compelling . . . Raboteau paints Emma's world with grand, sweeping strokes. Her prose is vibrant with life: Here is a crazy woman, here a downtrodden old man, here a homesick Ethiopian. Her timing is excellent, her humor is wry, her voice is on point, and her eye works with laserlike precision. Raboteau's sensitivity to life and to people is nothing short of astounding."—Francesca Wodtke, San Francisco Chronicle

"Raboteau tackles racism and racial violence in her dark, twisting, semi-autobiographical novel . . . But what sets this profound debut apart and should ensure its success is not only its thematic cultural relevance but the immediacy and authenticity of its narrative."Elle

"Engaging . . . Takes up the fundamental American obsession with racial categorization and acknowledges the claims that the history of such categorization makes on the individual."Chicago Tribune

"Raboteau's lyrical yet clear writing style lends itself well to this story, which is often both terrifying and beautiful . . . A book with resonating themes and a powerful storyline . . . A strong debut from a talented writer."Bookpage

"The Professor's Daughter intensely treats with a young life, the strains of an interracial family and the seemingly hopeless vicissitudes of adolescence. Sometimes funny, and at other times horrifying, it's always riveting and alive. This is a first rate job, a book that shows great subtlety and skill."—Robert Stone, author of Bay of Souls and Damascus Gate

"An exciting debut by an enchanting writer whose singular voice makes every page of this novel exceptional. Raboteau is funny and moving in the tradition of our best novelists. This elegant novel heralds the arrival of an important new writer with something to say."—Katharine Weber, author of The Little Women and The Music Lesson

"Raboteau's prose is generous and precise, yet it is also lush and sensual and smart, without any tricks of forced irony. These qualities alone would make The Professor's Daughter memorable, but what sets it apart is its honest portrayal of characters who are entirely real because their author has summoned the courage to write nakedly and honestly about them. This is a moving and significant work by a truly gifted and important new writer."—Andre Dubus III, author of House of Sand and Fog

"The world that Emily Raboteau has so wonderfully created here is at turns harsh, beautiful, strange, and always real. The language of this novel is lyrical yet precise, at once dissecting the notion of biracial existence and, correctly, stripping it of any currency. This work is unflinchingly intelligent."—Percival Everett, author of Erasure

"Raboteau deftly allows readers to experience Emma's myriad parts as she splinters in an attempt to grapple with being the brown daughter of a white mother and a black father. The intersections of race and class, played out in upscale Princeton, N.J., where Emma's father teaches, give resonance. Likewise, the treatment of sexual politics—among adults as well as youth—adds complexity to an unusual coming-of-age tale. Highly recommended."—Eleanor J. Bader, Brooklyn, New York, Library Journal (starred review)

About the Author

Emily Raboteau holds an M.F.A. in creative writing from New York University, where she was a New York Times Fellow. She is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, the Chicago Tribune's Nelson Algren Award for Short Fiction, and a New York Foundation of the Arts Fellowship. Her stories have been published in Tin House, The Missouri Review, and Best American Short Stories 2003. She lives in Brooklyn and teaches creative writing at the City College of New York.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Romanv, July 11, 2006 (view all comments by Romanv)
Emily Raboteau's book is one of the best books written by a young author in an extremely long time. The accounts of a young bi-racial girl growing up and living life in various places and experiencing different thinga has been done before... but not with this amount of oral virility. Ms. Raboteau is a fine artist and the reading community has hopes that her next book will be just as good as her debut.

The Dima
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(6 of 12 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780805075069
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Raboteau, Emily
Publisher:
Picador
Subject:
General
Subject:
Fathers and daughters
Subject:
Women college students
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literary
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
February 3, 2005
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
8.5 x 5.5 x 0.652 in

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Professor's Daughter Used Hardcover
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Product details 288 pages Henry Holt & Company - English 9780805075069 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "A thoughtful, satisfying meditation on race and family history, Raboteau's novel is that rare debut by a young author that stands out not for its stylistic swagger or precocity, but for its simple grace and absolute wisdom. The title character, Emma Boudreaux, and her 'twin' brother, Bernie, are the products of an interracial marriage and an unconventional household. But while Bernie embraces his blackness, Emma is less sure about who she is; still, she chooses to defer to her brother and their shared 'skin.' As an adolescent she only vaguely grasps the mysterious legacy of her black father, who went from an impoverished, segregated Mississippi childhood — his own father having been publicly lynched — to an esteemed academic career at Princeton University. That her father is often absent from family life only deepens Emma's connection with her brother. But when Bernie falls into a coma after a freak accident, Emma, now a freshman at Yale, is forced to reevaluate her identity. With shifting points of view, the novel weaves together unexpected fragments, like a paper Emma 'wrote' for a post-colonial African novel class and her comatose brother's lucid dreams. Drawing from the traditions of African storytelling, the novel maps a mythically rich terrain without ever leaving the confines of American realism. Raboteau, who has already won awards for her fiction, has an assured voice that illuminates pain as acutely as love, and this book flaunts her exceptional storytelling talents." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "[An] engaging first novel....The Professor's Daughter movingly takes the African-American tradition of the mixed-race figure into the 21st Century."
"Review" by , "Part literary saga, part litany of righteous parables: an impassioned, poetic work that offers commitment as compensation for its overdeterminism."
"Review" by , "The world that Emily Raboteau has so wonderfully created here is at turns harsh, beautiful, strange, and always real. The language of this novel is lyrical, yet precise, at once dissecting the notion of biracial existence and, correctly, stripping it of any currency. This work is unflinchingly intelligent."
"Synopsis" by , A daughter's future and her father's past converge in this explosive first novel exploring identity, assimilation, and the legacy of race, and marking the arrival of an astonishingly original voice that surges with energy and purpose.
"Synopsis" by ,
"My father is black and my mother is white and my brother is a vegetable." When Emma Boudreaux's older brother winds up in a coma after a freak accident, she loses her compass: only Bernie was able to navigate--if not always diplomatically--the terrain of their biracial identity. And although her father and brother are bound by a haunting past that Emma slowly uncovers, she sees that she might just escape.

In exhilarating prose, The Professor's Daughter traces the borderlands of race and family, contested territory that gives rise to rage, confusion, madness, and invisibility. This astonishingly original voice surges with energy and purpose.

"Synopsis" by ,
A daughter's future and her father's past converge in this explosive first novel exploring identity, assimilation, and the legacy of race

"My father is black and my mother is white and my brother is a vegetable." When Emma Boudreaux's older brother, Bernie, winds up in a coma after a freak accident, it's as if she loses a part of herself. All their lives, he has served as her compass, her stronger, better half: Bernie was brilliant when Emma was smart, charismatic when she was awkward, and confident when she was shy. Only Bernie was able to navigate-if not always diplomatically-the terrain of their biracial identity. Now, as the chronic rash that's flared up throughout her life returns with a vengeance, Emma is sleepwalking through her first year at college, left alone to grow into herself.

The key to Emma's self-discovery lies in her father's past. Esteemed Princeton professor Bernard Boudreaux is emotionally absent and secretive about his family history. Little does Emma know just how haunted that history is, how tortured the path from the Deep South town to his present Ivy League success has been. Though her father and brother are bound by the past, Emma might just escape.

In exhilarating, magical prose, The Professor's Daughter traces the borderlands of race and family, the contested territory that gives birth to rage, confusion, madness, and invisibility. This striking debut marks the arrival of an astonishingly original voice that surges with energy and purpose.

Emily Raboteau holds an M.F.A. in creative writing from New York University, where she was a New York Times Fellow. She is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, the Chicago Tribune's Nelson Algren Award for Short Fiction, and a New York Foundation of the Arts Fellowship. Her stories have been published in Tin House, The Missouri Review, and Best American Short Stories 2003. Raboteau lives in Brooklyn and teaches creative writing at the City College of New York.
A daughter's future and her father's past converge in this explosive first novel about identity, assimilation, and the legacy of race in America. When Emma Boudreaux's older brother, Bernie, winds up in a coma after a freak accident, it's as if she loses a part of herself. All their lives, he has served as her compass, her stronger, better half: Bernie was brilliant when Emma was smart, charismatic when she was awkward, and confident when she was shy. Only Bernie was able to navigate—if not always diplomatically—the terrain of their biracial identity. Now, as the chronic rash that's flared up throughout her life returns with a vengeance, Emma is sleepwalking through her first year at college, left alone to grow into herself.

The key to Emma's self-discovery lies in her father's past. Esteemed Princeton professor Bernard Boudreaux II is emotionally absent and secretive about his family history. Little does Emma know just how haunted that history is, how tortured the path has been from his Deep South roots to his present Ivy League success. But although her father and brother are bound by the past, Emma herself might just escape.

In exhilarating, spark-throwing prose, The Professor's Daughter traces the borderlands of race and family, the contested territory that gives birth to rage, confusion, madness, and invisibility. This striking debut novel marks the arrival of an astonishing voice, one that surges with energy and purpose.

"Compelling . . . Raboteau paints Emma's world with grand, sweeping strokes. Her prose is vibrant with life: Here is a crazy woman, here a downtrodden old man, here a homesick Ethiopian. Her timing is excellent, her humor is wry, her voice is on point, and her eye works with laserlike precision. Raboteau's sensitivity to life and to people is nothing short of astounding."—Francesca Wodtke, San Francisco Chronicle

"Raboteau tackles racism and racial violence in her dark, twisting, semi-autobiographical novel . . . But what sets this profound debut apart and should ensure its success is not only its thematic cultural relevance but the immediacy and authenticity of its narrative."Elle

"Engaging . . . Takes up the fundamental American obsession with racial categorization and acknowledges the claims that the history of such categorization makes on the individual."Chicago Tribune

"Raboteau's lyrical yet clear writing style lends itself well to this story, which is often both terrifying and beautiful . . . A book with resonating themes and a powerful storyline . . . A strong debut from a talented writer."Bookpage

"The Professor's Daughter intensely treats with a young life, the strains of an interracial family and the seemingly hopeless vicissitudes of adolescence. Sometimes funny, and at other times horrifying, it's always riveting and alive. This is a first rate job, a book that shows great subtlety and skill."—Robert Stone, author of Bay of Souls and Damascus Gate

"An exciting debut by an enchanting writer whose singular voice makes every page of this novel exceptional. Raboteau is funny and moving in the tradition of our best novelists. This elegant novel heralds the arrival of an important new writer with something to say."—Katharine Weber, author of The Little Women and The Music Lesson

"Raboteau's prose is generous and precise, yet it is also lush and sensual and smart, without any tricks of forced irony. These qualities alone would make The Professor's Daughter memorable, but what sets it apart is its honest portrayal of characters who are entirely real because their author has summoned the courage to write nakedly and honestly about them. This is a moving and significant work by a truly gifted and important new writer."—Andre Dubus III, author of House of Sand and Fog

"The world that Emily Raboteau has so wonderfully created here is at turns harsh, beautiful, strange, and always real. The language of this novel is lyrical yet precise, at once dissecting the notion of biracial existence and, correctly, stripping it of any currency. This work is unflinchingly intelligent."—Percival Everett, author of Erasure

"Raboteau deftly allows readers to experience Emma's myriad parts as she splinters in an attempt to grapple with being the brown daughter of a white mother and a black father. The intersections of race and class, played out in upscale Princeton, N.J., where Emma's father teaches, give resonance. Likewise, the treatment of sexual politics—among adults as well as youth—adds complexity to an unusual coming-of-age tale. Highly recommended."—Eleanor J. Bader, Brooklyn, New York, Library Journal (starred review)

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