The Shadow Reader kShortlisted for the 2020 TOBLet s cut to the chase this is a book about a black father whose name we are never given who wants his son to be white That sentence describes the narrative but the book explores why he wants his son to be white He believes that turning his son white will save him from the oppressive dominant racist white societyThe novel is set in the future but just how far in the future we are never told What we donow and the author brings up repeatedly is that racism has gotten worseSome dystopian futures seem light years away from our current existence civilization destroyed the planet on its nees gasping its last breath But similar to Atwood s The Handmaid s Tale Ruffin s future seems to be although distant at least a possibilityThe police now have the technology to drive past houses and scan the heart rate of the occupants
Low heart rate indicates drug use elevated hear Review Edit 31919Maybe this was the point given the narrator s heart rate indicates drug use elevated hear Review Edit 31919Maybe this was the point given the narrator s of drugs but I felt like I needed to be on drugs while reading this It s like that scene in the Leonardo DiCaprioClaire Danes version of Romeo Juliet where Romeo takes ecstasy and everything is spinning That s how the prose in this was for me It was just all over the place and it couldn t decide what it wanted to be Such a missed opportunity I didn t get the brilliance and I really wanted toThis is a story about a father and son The father a black man wants to prevent his son who is biracial from falling victim to this near future world where racism has been dealt with by either having surgery to become white or living in fenced in neighborhoods being incarcerated for the smallest infraction and all the way up to neighborhood patrols to detect black people by body temperatureheart rate If the heart rate is too high they could be up to trouble and need to be uestioned Essentially racism is so outwardly present and obvious that the father has convinced himself that he must do whatever is necessary to be able to afford this experimental surgery for his son All this with great risk to his relationships with his wife who is White and son I am really struggling with how to rate and review this book On one hand there were moments where this was so chilling and I was enthralled At other times it was disjointed and really went off script The satire was almost completely lost on me where I found myself wondering if this book was even meant for me I ve read other reviews where readers had said they wanted to love this book so much but just couldn t make a connection I felt exactly that way The moments between the father and his son were crystal clear where it was immensely sad and even frightening The father s love for his son and his wishes to protect him caused physical and emotional pain that I could never understand "Reading It Made My "it made my break Unfortunately those parts were fewer and far between that I would have liked and it was bogged down by so much else that by the time the story came around again in the last third of the book I was already lost I last third of the book I was already lost I like others also lacked a good grasp on the world the author had created and it wasn t for lack of trying Ultimately I would recommend giving this a try because not everyone had the same experience I did Maybe I missed the point but I did my best 3 starsWe Cast a Shadow is a dystopian satire if there is such a genre Intellectually I thought it was brilliant But I must admit that I didn t love reading it It was a uestion of genre and style rather than content Set at some point in the future in the US life for African Americans has become an exaggeration of what it is today Levels of surveillance and incarceration are very high There are fenced ghettos Etc The narrator identifies himself as one of the 10% lucky enough to avoid the fate of most African American men He is lawyer in a large firm But he is obsessed with the precariousness of his situation and especially with his 13 year old son s vulnerability As far as he s concerned the solution is a treatment increasing in popularity that will make his son white The idea underlying this novel is clever the topic is timely and there are many inspired details But I m not a great fit for the genre While I appreciate what Ruffin has achieved I felt a bit under engaged as I read this one Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy Maurice Carlos Ruffin s debut novel We Cast A Shadow is an incisive and necessary work of brilliant satire Set in the post post racial South We Cast a Shadow tells the story of a man one of the few black men at his law firm desperate to pay for his biracial son to undergo demelanization desperate to fix what he sees as his son s fatal flaw It is this desperation that drives this novel that haunts this novel and in this desperation we se. A bold provocative debut for fans of Get Out and Paul Beatty's The Sellout about a father who will do anything to protect his son even if it means turning him white How far would you go to protect your childOur narrator faces an impossible decision Like any father he just wants the best for his son Nigel a biracial boy whose black birthmark is growing larger by the day In this near future society plagued by resurgent racism segregation and expandin. .
Maurice Carlos Ruffin â 5 Read.
E just how pernicious racism is how irrevocably it can alter how a man sees the world himself those he loves In that We Cast a Shadow is not so much a work of satire Instead it is a chilling unforgettable cautionary tale and one we should all read and heed Release date January 29thWe Cast a Shadow is a debut novel by Maurice Carlos Ruffin that takes place in the near future Still plagued by racial discrimination blacks now have the option to achieve ultimate assimilation The story follows an unnamed African American male narrator who seems to have risen above his natal station in life Working as a lawyer in a prestigious law firm he is willing
to do anything to placate his superiors even masuerade as typical stereotypes to advance his career His motivationdo anything to placate his superiors even masuerade as typical stereotypes to advance his career His is raise funds for his son s demelaninization process A painful process likened to chemotherapy demelaninization not only strips the bearer of their color but is supposed to reconfigure their genes so that their offspring also come out looking white Alongside this procedure clients also undergo rhinoplasty and lip thinning to appear Caucasian In his mind this is the only way to save his son His experience has told him that even though he is moderately successful married to a white woman and lives outside the confines of the ghetto that he is not safe His color holds him hostage to the prejudicial whims of society After all like every other Black man in America he still has a police officer assigned to check up on him regularly for his own good We Cast a Shadow is a biting satire that goes where others fear to tread self hatred in the Black community With the primary focus aimed at this unnamed narrator Ruffin underscores the idea that our protagonist doesn t even see himself When he says My name doesn t matter All you need to now is that I am a phantom a figment a man who was mistaken he really has forgotten who he is and where he comes from He has disconnected from his past He is struggling but blind to the impact that his behavior is having on those closest to him Although dealing with some weighty topics Ruffin uses humor here and skillfully tackles them all We Cast a Shadow is a very solid debut I will definitely be revisiting Maurice Carlos Ruffin in the future Special thanks to NetGalley Random House OneWorld publishing group and Maurice Carlos Ruffin for access to this ARC in exchange for an honest review A black father loves his son very much which is why he does everything to turn his id white so he won t be subjected to racist oppression this is pretty much the disturbing premise of this painful satire Maurice Carlos Ruffin finds haunting words and images to illustrate the alienation and suffering that racism causes how people are forced to choose between their pride and their safety and how dignity and compassion get crushed in an inhumane white supremacist society What makes this text stand out is the dark sarcasm it employs to describe the cynic dynamics of structural racism thus highlighting its absurdity and the maze like logic of a hate that connects melanin levels to the value of a human beingIn a dystopian future that doesn t seem all too distant segregation discrimination and the injustice of the prison industrial complex are getting even worse so our narrator subjects his biracial son Nigel to an experimental demelanization treatment against his wife s and Nigel s will but with the intent to protect Nigel To pay for the potions and the upcoming final procedure the unnamed narrator who works at a law firm agrees to act as living proof for the company s commitment to diversity the whole thing is of course a ruse to win clients He nows that this is degrading but he feels like he owes it to his son At the same time the narrator is devoured by self hatred when he sees the poverty of the black community or visits his unjustly incarcerated father He seems torn between blaming them and acknowledging that the system is specifically designed to let black people fail His own drug addiction is a testament to his mental stateThe whole story slowly becomes and surreal but the phenomena it discusses are very real indeed Our narrator is fighting windmills He can t win no matter what he does To try and destroy his son s racial identity is of course despicable but it is the perverted system that makes him feel like the harm he does is better than the harm Nigel would have to endure otherwise what he does is wrong but it is rooted in love and pain The narrator does not strife for money fame and success he goes to these extremes because he dreams of a sense of normalcy for his son The world is a centrifuge that patiently waits to separate my Nigel from his basic human dignity He wants to protect Nigel from all the things that would eat away at his soul and make him wonder why we ever. G private prisons our narrator nows Nigel might not survive Having watched the world take away his own father he is determined to stop history from repeating itselfThere is one potential solution a new experimental medical procedure that promises to save lives by turning people white But in order to afford Nigel's whiteness operation our narrator must make partner as one of the few Black associates at his law firm jumping through a series of incre. .