The Resource New people, Danzy Senna

New people, Danzy Senna

Label
New people
Title
New people
Statement of responsibility
Danzy Senna
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
As the twentieth century draws to a close, Maria is at the start of a life she never thought possible. She and Khalil, her college sweetheart, are planning their wedding. They are the perfect couple, "King and Queen of the Racially Nebulous Prom." Their skin is the same shade of beige. They live together in a black bohemian enclave in Brooklyn, where Khalil is riding the wave of the first dot-com boom and Maria is plugging away at her dissertation, on the Jonestown massacre. They've even landed a starring role in a documentary about "new people" like them, who are blurring the old boundaries as a brave new era dawns. Everything Maria knows she should want lies before her--yet she can't stop daydreaming about another man, a poet she barely knows
Storyline
Pace
Tone
Writing style
Character
Award
New York Times Notable Book, 2017
Review
  • Senna (Caucasia) returns to long-form fiction in a muddled third novel featuring a protagonist in search of her identity. It’s 1996 in slowly gentrifying New York, and 27-year-old Maria and her college sweetheart Khalil, both mixed-race, are planning their wedding. They’re also the stars of a new documentary called New People about interracial couples. But there’s a catch—one that grows comically large as the story progresses: Maria’s obsessed with a soft-spoken, brown-skinned poet whom she barely knows, but suspects is her soul mate. Her stalking takes on an air of implausibility as she sneaks into his apartment building, impersonates the next door neighbor’s nanny, and crawls into his open window while he’s not home—and those aren’t even the worst of her creepy maneuvers. Interspersed with her complaining about the state of her otherwise stable current relationship with Khalil are flashbacks to her disastrous dating life in college before she met and “saved” him from being the “token... cool black guy at the frat party”; discussions about racism and white privilege; remembrances of her adopted mother before she died from breast cancer at 49; and a side plot involving Maria’s attempts to finish her dissertation on the mass suicide at Jonestown. Significant themes and issues are touched upon here but unfortunately get lost before fully landing. (Aug.) --Staff (Reviewed 06/19/2017) (Publishers Weekly, vol 264, issue 25, p)
  • /* Starred Review */ The protagonist of this well-constructed, brooding novel is a young woman of mixed race named Maria, the adopted daughter of a black woman who died an impoverished grad student while Maria herself was in college. Maria has always defiantly embraced her blackness and now is living the hipster life in New York, along with her fiancé Khalil, a dreamboat who is part black, part Jewish, and has a darker-skinned, arrogant sister named Lisa. They are the New People, a generation for whom race ostensibly doesn't matter, but in fact they wear their racial awareness like stylish new clothes. Maria knows she's a phony, as a kid from poverty making it at Stanford—or as someone who identifies as black but doesn't look it—might feel like a fake. But there's something more sinister about Maria's recurring obsessions, duplicities, and poses, something despicable. Or maybe it's her own dissertation on the Jamestown Massacre that she's rushing to finish that is driving her crazy. VERDICT Senna's latest (Caucasia; Symptomatic) is a great read, both compelling and thoughtful. The narrative has a page-turning urgency, as Maria tumbles toward a disaster of her own making, while her musings on race shift between provocative and cynical. [See Prepub Alert, 2/27/17.]—Reba Leiding, emeritus, James Madison Univ. Lib., Harrisonburg, VA --Reba Leiding (Reviewed 06/01/2017) (Library Journal, vol 142, issue 10, p97)
  • /* Starred Review */ Khalil and Maria, biracial Stanford graduates whose Martha's Vineyard wedding will be featured in the New York Times, hit a bump in the road when Maria develops a crush on another man.Khalil Mirsky is the dreadlocked, Hacky Sack-playing son of a Jewish man and an African-American woman, "the only black guy at the frat party—the Hootie in his Blowfish." Maria Pierce is so light that white people make racist jokes in front of her, thus suffering "that particular rage of the light-skinned individual," as her black adoptive mother puts it. From the moment they get together, Khalil and Maria are the "King and Queen of the Racially Nebulous Prom," their skin "the same shade of beige"—or as Khalil describes it to the woman filming them for a documentary called "New People," "a Woody Allen movie, with melanin." Maria is more cynical about their biracial fairy tale, their Brooklyn lifestyle, the future baby they'll name Indigo or Thelonious Mirsky-Pierce, "the messiah of Mulatto Nation." Her second thoughts take the form of an obsessive crush on a poet who is not a New Person, a "brown-skinned black boy with a shaved head…the body, the skin, the face that cabdrivers pretend not to see." Senna's (You Are Free, 2011, etc.) fearless novel is equal parts beguiling and disturbing, and nowhere more so than in a hilarious, ultimately terrifying series of events that begins when a tired white lady mistakes Maria for her nanny, Consuela, and leaves her in charge of her infant. Senna combines the clued-in status details you'd find in a New York magazine article with the narrative invention of big-league fiction. Every detail and subplot, including Maria's dissertation on the Jonestown massacre and her buried secret about a college prank gone awry, is resonant. A great book about race and a great book all around.!!!(Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2017)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10571677
Cataloging source
AZZPT
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Senna, Danzy
Dewey number
813/.6
Index
no index present
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Racially mixed people
  • Man-woman relationships
  • Nineteen nineties
  • Self-perception
  • FICTION / African American / Contemporary Women
  • FICTION / Family Life
  • FICTION / Political
  • Racially mixed people
  • Man-woman relationships
  • Nineteen nineties
  • Racially mixed people
  • Self-perception
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • New York (State)
Label
New people, Danzy Senna
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
1827802
Dimensions
22 cm
Extent
229 pages
Isbn
9781594487095
Lccn
2016045954
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9781594487095
  • (OCoLC)981549851
Label
New people, Danzy Senna
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
1827802
Dimensions
22 cm
Extent
229 pages
Isbn
9781594487095
Lccn
2016045954
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9781594487095
  • (OCoLC)981549851

Library Locations

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