CONTROVERSIAL PREMISE: This novel is intentionally provocative in its explorations of surviving white supremacy; it will spark heated conversation because of its controversial narrator, who simultaneously loves and betrays his own family.
GREAT SOUTHERN STORYTELLING: Maurice Carlos Ruffin is a New Orleans native, and his novel is informed by the history of racism and resistance in the South, putting his writing in the tradition of other great contemporary Southern writers like Jesmyn Ward and Tayari Jones.
A RISING STAR EXPLORING URGENT ISSUES: Maurice Carlos Ruffin is the new nonfiction book critic for the Virginia Quarterly Review. He has also written widely shared pieces in the Los Angeles Times, The Bitter Southerner, and Lit Hub, exploring topics including white supremacy, the removal of confederate statues, New Orleans in the age of Trump, and surviving Hurricane Katrina.
“We Cast a Shadow asks some of the most important questions fiction can ask, and it does so with energetic and acrobatic prose, hilarious wordplay and great heart. . . . Love is at the core of this funny, beautiful novel . . . . At any moment, Ruffin can summon the kind of magic that makes you want to slow down, reread and experience the pleasure of him crystallizing an image again. . . . Read this book.”—Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, The New York Times Book Review (Editors’ Choice)
“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 haunts this novel and, in this desperation, we see just how pernicious racism is, how irrevocably it can alter how a man sees the world, himself, and those he loves. It is a chilling, unforgettable cautionary tale, and one we should all read and heed.”—Roxane Gay, author of Bad Feminist
“We Cast a Shadow is like a dispatch from the frontlines of the African-American psyche. Written with ruthless intelligence, it’s the story of a father’s love and how he tries to protect his son in a country that devours black lives through violence, incarceration, and poverty. . . . [Ruffin] can drive his story to the outer limits and beyond, and never lose the threads of bitter reality that make it so haunting. We Cast a Shadow soars on Ruffin’s unerring vision.”—Renée Graham, The Boston Globe
“Stunning and audacious . . . at once a pitch-black comedy, a chilling horror story and an endlessly perceptive novel about the possible future of race in America. . . . Ruffin proves to be a master . . . a fast-paced and intricately plotted book . . . The real draw of the novel is Ruffin’s gift at creating unforgettable characters. . . . He writes with a straight face, never in love with his own cleverness—there are echoes of Ralph Ellison’s intelligent, unshowy prose. . . . There’s no doubt that We Cast a Shadow, with its sobering look at race in America, can be difficult to read, but it’s more than worth it. . . . It’s a razor-sharp debut from an urgent new voice of fiction.”—NPR
“Heart-wrenching and morally ambiguous . . . a challenging, thought-provoking debut.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Ruffin’s name is the talk of the literary world.”—The Times-Picayune
“Inventive and shocking . . . One of the most anticipated debut novels of 2019.”—Los Angeles Times
“A biting satire of anti-blackness in the US.”—BuzzFeed
“A full-throated novelistic debut of ferocious power and grace . . . a story that refracts the insanity of the world into a shape so unique you wonder how this book wasn’t there all along.”—Lit Hub
“Propulsive . . . We Cast a Shadow proves that the eeriest works of speculative fiction are those that hit closest to home.”—Vulture
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