Maurice Carlos Ruffin’s debut novel “We Cast a Shadow” is set in an unnamed Southern city in the not too distant future. American society has become more racially restrictive. To avoid the various prejudices suffered by Black people, some resort to “demelanization”, a painful procedure that removes physical traits associated with Black people. The book is a slightly off-beat dark comedy about a nameless narrator who goes to desperate lengths to shield his son from this race-based dystopian society.
If you like detective novels and police procedurals with twists and turns as well as a bit of depth that makes the story and characters feel both familiar and refreshing then my book review of “Bluebird, Bluebird” by Attica Locke is for you.
A review of “Transcendent Kingdom”, Yaa Gyasi’s sophomore novel about a neuroscience PhD candidate who reflects on her life, religion, and science.
“Stay With Me” is a novel by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ about a married Nigerian couple, Yejide and Akin, who experience ups and downs while trying to conceive and raise children. The couple previously agreed to pass on some of their culture’s traditions in favor of having a more modern marriage. But after four years of marriage and no children, their families assume that they are infertile and pressure Akin to take a second wife. Feeling obligated to their families’ expectations, they sacrifice their desires and put their marriage at risk to please their elders.
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead tells the story of Elwood Curtis, a Black young man growing up in Tallahassee during the 1950s and 60s. Elwood is surrounded by the injustice of segregation but inspired by the early Civil Rights Movement. Raised with the love of his strict and religious grandmother, Elwood is a serious hard-working boy who is unable to turn a blind eye to injustice. It sets him apart from the other boys in his neighborhood but puts him in danger when he’s sent to a corrupt reform school.