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Daughters of the Revolution (Vintage Contemporaries)by Carolyn Cooke
Synopses & Reviews
From the O. Henry Award-winning author of the story collection The Bostons—a New York Times Notable Book, Los Angeles Times Book of the Year and winner of the PEN/Robert Bingham Fellowship for Writers—an exquisite first novel set at a disintegrating New England prep school.
Its 1968. The prestigious but cash-strapped Goode School in the town of Cape Wilde is run by its aging, philandering headmaster, Goddard Byrd, known to both his friends and his enemies as God. With Cape Wilde engulfed by the social and political storms of integration, coeducation and the sexual revolution, God has confidently promised coeducation “over my dead body.” And then, through a clerical error, the Goode School admits its first female student: Carole Faust, a brilliant, intractable fifteen-year-old black girl.
What does it mean to be the First Girl?
Carolyn Cooke has written a ferociously intelligent, richly sensual novel about the lives of girls and women, the complicated desperation of daughters without fathers and the erosion of paternalistic power in an elite New England town on the cusp of radical social change. Remarkable for the precision of its language, the incandescence of its images, and the sly provocations of its moral and emotional predicaments, Daughters of the Revolution is a novel of exceptional force and beauty.
From the Hardcover edition.
In 1968, a clerical mistake threatens the prestigious but cash-strapped Goode School in the small New England town of Cape Wilde. After a century of all-male, old-boy education, the school accidentally admits its first female student: Carole Faust, a brilliant, outspoken, fifteen-year-old black girl whose arrival will have both an immediate and long-term effect on the prep school and everyone in its orbit.
There’s the school’s philandering headmaster, Goddard “God” Byrd, who had promised co-education “over his dead body” and who finds his syllabi full of dead white males and patriarchal tradition constantly challenged; there’s EV, the daughter of God’s widowed mistress who watches Carole’s actions as she grows older with wide eyes and admiration; and, finally, there’s Carole herself, who bears the singular challenge of being the First Girl in a world that’s not quite ready to embrace her.
About the Author
Carolyn Cooke’s short-story collection, The Bostons, was a winner of the 2002 PEN/Robert Bingham Fellowship for Writers and a runner-up for the PEN/Hemingway Foundation Award. Her fiction has appeared in AGNI, The Paris Review, Ploughshares and in two volumes each of The Best American Short Stories and The O. Henry Prize Stories. A recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the California Arts Council, she teaches in the MFA writing program at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco.
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