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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
But as we've seen, black America isn't just as fissured as white America; it is more so." --Henry Louis Gates Jr.Martha Southgate opens her first foray into adult fiction with several epigrams, including the above; and in these words resides the theme of her fascinating exploration of race in the 21st century.
A former books editor at Essence, and the author of an award-winning children's book, Southgate introduces readers to three captivating and complicated characters in her new novel: Jerome Washington, a classics professor at an elite New England prep school and the sole faculty member of color; Rashid Bryson, a young African-American student who challenges all of Jerome's preconceptions about ethnicity and the struggle for acceptance; and Jana Hansen, a white female teacher whose very presence forms a triangle linking her with Washington and Bryson.
Southgate's prose is sharply perceptive and acutely observant, and she has a strong command over her material, steering the course of her three characters toward an emotional climax. Ultimately, through her thoughtful characterization, she reveals that we are each prisoners of our own closed minds, our own limited thinking; and until we knock down those walls, which it is in our power to do, common ground and understanding will always remain at a distance. (Winter 2002 Selection)