Caucasia by Danzy Senna

caucasia Birdie is torn between her two parents–one black, one white, as she grows up in the racial war-zone of 1970’s Boston. Her pain deepens when she realizes that her parents, who can no longer get along, intend to separate her from her beloved sister. Her black father is taking her sister to live with him in Brazil while Birdie and her white mother, who is on the run for some of the political crimes she has committed, are leaving Boston to travel around the county, hiding from the authorities. While I have not personally had the experience of being biracial, Senna really made me feel the confusion, ambiguity and even guilt Birdie felt in denying one side of her heritage and “passing” as white with her mother. Senna herself is a biracial child, and her novel has a very autobiographical feel to it. Read it along with James McBride’s autobiography, The Color of Water, which is a memoir about his white mother. Good stuff…

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