On Sale: May 19, 2015
Featuring: Byrdie; Grace
Hardcover / e-Book
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Fiction | Contemporary
A sharply observed, mordantly funny, and startlingly
original novel from an exciting, unconventional new
voice—the author of the acclaimed The
Wallcreeper—about the making and unmaking of the
American family that lays bare all of our assumptions about
race and racism, sexuality and desire.
Stillwater College in Virginia, 1966. Freshman Peggy, an
ingénue with literary pretensions, falls under the spell of
Lee, a blue-blooded poet and professor, and they begin an
ill-advised affair that results in an unplanned pregnancy
and marriage. The two are mismatched from the start—she’s a
lesbian, he’s gay—but it takes a decade of emotional erosion
before Peggy runs off with their three-year-old daughter,
leaving their nine-year-old son behind.
Worried that Lee will have her committed for her erratic
behavior, Peggy goes underground, adopting an African
American persona for her and her daughter. They squat in a
house in an African-American settlement, eventually moving
to a housing project where no one questions their true
racial identities. As Peggy and Lee’s children grow up, they
must contend with diverse emotional issues: Byrdie deals
with his father’s compulsive honesty; while Karen struggles
with her mother’s lies—she knows neither her real age, nor
that she is “white,” nor that she has any other family.
Years later, a minority scholarship lands Karen at the
University of Virginia, where Byrdie is in his senior year.
Eventually the long lost siblings will meet, setting off a
series of misunderstandings and culminating in a comedic
finale worthy of Shakespeare.
Weekend Edition Saturday - May 23, 2015
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