We Cast a Shadow: A Novel

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“An incisive and necessary” (Roxane Gay) debut for fans of Get Out and Paul Beatty’s The Sellout, about a father’s obsessive quest to protect his son—even if it means turning him white

“Stunning and audacious . . . at once a pitch-black comedy, a chilling horror story and an endlessly perceptive novel about the possible future of race in America.”—NPR

You can be beautiful, even more beautiful than before.” This is the seductive promise of Dr. Nzinga’s clinic, where anyone can get their lips thinned, their skin bleached, and their nose narrowed. A complete demelanization will liberate you from the confines of being born in a black body—if you can afford it.

In this near-future Southern city plagued by fenced-in ghettos and police violence, more and more residents are turning to this experimental medical procedure. Like any father, our narrator just wants the best for his son, Nigel, a biracial boy whose black birthmark is getting bigger by the day. The darker Nigel becomes, the more frightened his father feels. But how far will he go to protect his son? And will he destroy his family in the process?

This electrifying, hallucinatory novel is at once a keen satire of surviving racism in America and a profoundly moving family story. At its center is a father who just wants his son to thrive in a broken world. Maurice Carlos Ruffin’s work evokes the clear vision of Ralph Ellison, the dizzying menace of Franz Kafka, and the crackling prose of Vladimir Nabokov. We Cast a Shadow fearlessly shines a light on the violence we inherit, and on the desperate things we do for the ones we love.

Praise for We Cast a Shadow

“Love is at the core of this funny, beautiful novel [that] asks some of the most important questions fiction can ask, and it does so with energetic and acrobatic prose, hilarious wordplay and great heart. . . . We Cast a Shadow churns fresh beauty from old ugliness. . . . Read this book, and ask yourself: Is this the world you want?”—Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, The New York Times Book Review

“A full-throated novelistic debut of ferocious power and grace . . . a story that refracts the insanity of the world into a shape so unique you wonder how this book wasn’t there all along.”Lit Hub, Most Anticipated Books of 2019

“Propulsive . . . We Cast a Shadow proves that the eeriest works of speculative fiction are those that hit closest to home.”Vulture, 37 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2019
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About the author

Maurice Carlos Ruffin has been a recipient of an Iowa Review Award in fiction and a winner of the William Faulkner–William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition for Novel-in-Progress. His work has appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review, AGNI, The Kenyon Review, The Massachusetts Review, and Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas. A native of New Orleans, Ruffin is a graduate of the University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop and a member of the Peauxdunque Writers Alliance.
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4.3
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Additional Information

Publisher
One World
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Published on
Jan 29, 2019
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Pages
336
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ISBN
9780525509080
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / African American / General
Fiction / Literary
Fiction / Satire
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

Reading information

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Winner of the Man Booker Prize

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction

Winner of the John Dos Passos Prize for Literature

New York Times Bestseller

Los Angeles Times Bestseller

Named One of the 10 Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review

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