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The Resource One drop : my father's hidden life--a story of race and family secrets, Bliss Broyard

One drop : my father's hidden life--a story of race and family secrets, Bliss Broyard

Label
One drop : my father's hidden life--a story of race and family secrets
Title
One drop
Title remainder
my father's hidden life--a story of race and family secrets
Statement of responsibility
Bliss Broyard
Title variation
One drop
Title variation remainder
my fathers hidden life-- a story of race and family secrets
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
Two months before he died of cancer, renowned literary critic Anatole Broyard called his grown son and daughter to his side, to reveal a secret he had kept all their lives and most of his own: he was black. His daughter Bliss learned that her WASPy, privileged Connecticut childhood had come at a price. Ever since his own parents, New Orleans Creoles, had moved to Brooklyn and began to "pass" in order to get work, Anatole had learned to conceal his racial identity. As he grew older and entered the ranks of the New York literary élite, he maintained the façade. Now Bliss tries to make sense of his choices and the impact of this revelation on her own life. She searches out the family she never knew in New York and New Orleans, and considers the profound consequences of racial identity.--From publisher description
Award
Booklist Editors' Choice, 2007.
Review
  • For Broyard, who was “raised as white in Connecticut,” the discovery that her father, the writer and critic Anatole Broyard, “wasn’t exactly white” raised the question of “how black I was”—a question that set her in search of the history of “the most well-known defector from the black race in the latter half of the twentieth century.” In the first section, Broyard weaves her privileged childhood together with later travels to New Orleans (her father’s birthplace) and Los Angeles (where there is a determinedly white set of Broyards as well as a determinedly black set). Part two extends from the first Broyard, a Frenchman arriving in mid-18th century Louisiana territory, to six-year-old Anatole’s 1927 arrival in Brooklyn. The last section is devoted to Anatole’s life. Broyard’s “identity quest” takes her on an odyssey through social, military, legal, Louisiana and general American history, as well as U.S. race relations and her family DNA, introducing innumerable relatives, classmates, friends and employers, and making for a rather overstuffed account. Fortunately, she’s got an ear for dialogue, an eye for place and a storyteller’s pacing. But the most compelling element is her ambivalent tenor: “Was my father’s choice rooted in self-preservation or in self-hatred?... Was he a hero or a cad?” Part eulogy, part apologia, the answer is indirect: “But he was my dad and we loved each other.” (Sept.) --Staff (Reviewed June 18, 2007) (Publishers Weekly, vol 254, issue 25, p44)
  • Broyard first learned that her father, noted New York Times literary critic Anatole Broyard, was black a few weeks before his death. This book outlines her exploration of her father's past, which delves into Creole history, slavery in the United States, and Anatole's quiet "passing" in an era where "one drop" of black blood could determine almost everything. Broyard remains a mystery to his daughter as well as the reader, even after his story is fleshed out. While the mid-20th century wasn't welcoming for a black man of his obvious intellect, style, and creativity, even in later years Broyard limited contact with his still living family and denied contact to his two children. His daughter asks all the questions a reader would ask: Why did he deny his children an extended family? Why was this an "open secret" among friends and coworkers but a complete secret to others? Who was Anatole Broyard? Why does the definition of race still hold such power? While the author is never able to adequately answer these questions, she presents a fascinating narrative. Recommended for public and academic libraries.—Jan Brue Enright, Augustana Coll. Lib., Sioux Falls, SD --Jan Brue Enright (Reviewed October 1, 2007) (Library Journal, vol 132, issue 16, p80)
  • The daughter of former New York Times book critic Anatole Broyard (1920–90) relentlessly pursues the story of his mixed racial heritage, which he had concealed.Bliss Broyard began her own career with a collection of short stories, My Father Dancing (1999), published nine years after her mother finally revealed that Anatole came from a New Orleans family of blacks and Creoles. Bliss and her brother were, to say the least, surprised. They had grown up in suburban Connecticut, spent summers on Martha's Vineyard and attended exclusive, mostly white schools. Although the kids had met their grandmother and an aunt when they were small, their father never mentioned his large extended family in the Big Easy. After he died, his daughter determined to get it all and to get it right, embarking on years of prodigious research involving multiple trips to New Orleans; searches for birth certificates, former homes, places of business; numerous interviews with family, friends, lovers, employers. The result is a complicated and sometimes distracting tapestry that weaves together the Broyard family tree, her father's biography and her mother's much briefer backstory with her own childhood, adolescence and young womanhood. Adding to the narrative ungainliness are large—sometimes too large—doses of social history: of New Orleans, of race in America, even of DNA testing. Despite occasional silliness, as when the author mentions that some people had always said she danced like a black girl, the tone here is generally serious. A not-so-admirable Anatole Broyard emerges. Though his daughter endeavors to understand him, less forgiving readers will be repulsed by his cold rejection of his birth family, his serial sexual escapades before and during his marriages, his ferocious, vaulting ambition, his personal and professional arrogance, his paternal pettiness. These are not qualities that Bliss Broyard wishes to highlight, but she does not downplay them either. The expansive narrative is in need of pruning. Still, this uniquely American story of race and ambition is of surpassing importance. (Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2007)
Biography type
autobiography
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
212667
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Broyard, Bliss
Dewey number
813/.54
Illustrations
illustrations
Index
index present
LC call number
PS3552.R79154
LC item number
Z46 2007
Literary form
non fiction
Nature of contents
bibliography
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Broyard, Bliss
  • Authors, American
http://bibfra.me/vocab/lite/titleRemainder
my father's hidden life-- a story of race and family secrets
Label
One drop : my father's hidden life--a story of race and family secrets, Bliss Broyard
Link
Instantiates
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (pages [491]-498) and index
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Contents
Love at last sight -- Infinity of traces -- Avenues of flight
Control code
651225
Dimensions
25 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
514 pages
Isbn
9780316163507
Isbn Type
(alk. paper)
Lccn
2007006973
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
illustrations
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780316163507
  • (OCoLC)85444109
Label
One drop : my father's hidden life--a story of race and family secrets, Bliss Broyard
Link
Publication
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references (pages [491]-498) and index
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Contents
Love at last sight -- Infinity of traces -- Avenues of flight
Control code
651225
Dimensions
25 cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
514 pages
Isbn
9780316163507
Isbn Type
(alk. paper)
Lccn
2007006973
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other physical details
illustrations
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780316163507
  • (OCoLC)85444109

Library Locations

    • Carver BranchBorrow it
      1161 Angelina St., Austin, TX, 78702, US
      30.2695584 -97.7240278
    • Central LibraryBorrow it
      710 W. Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX, 78701, US
      30.2713021 -97.7460168
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