Caucasia: A Novel

Caucasia A Novel In Caucasia Danzy Senna s extraordinary debut novel and national bestseller Birdie and Cole are the daughters of a black father and a white mother intellectuals and activists in the Civil Rights Move

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  • Title: Caucasia: A Novel
  • Author: Danzy Senna
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 286
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • In Caucasia Danzy Senna s extraordinary debut novel and national bestseller Birdie and Cole are the daughters of a black father and a white mother, intellectuals and activists in the Civil Rights Movement in 1970s Boston The sisters are so close that they have created a private language, yet to the outside world they can t be sisters Birdie appears to be white, while ColIn Caucasia Danzy Senna s extraordinary debut novel and national bestseller Birdie and Cole are the daughters of a black father and a white mother, intellectuals and activists in the Civil Rights Movement in 1970s Boston The sisters are so close that they have created a private language, yet to the outside world they can t be sisters Birdie appears to be white, while Cole is dark enough to fit in with the other kids at the Afrocentric school they attend For Birdie, Cole is the mirror in which she can see her own blackness Then their parents marriage falls apart Their father s new black girlfriend won t even look at Birdie, while their mother gives her life over to the Movement at night the sisters watch mysterious men arrive with bundles shaped like rifles One night Birdie watches her father and his girlfriend drive away with Cole they have gone to Brazil, she will later learn, where her father hopes for a racial equality he will never find in the States The next morning in the belief that the Feds are after them Birdie and her mother leave everything behind their house and possessions, their friends, and most disturbing of all their identity Passing as the daughter and wife of a deceased Jewish professor, Birdie and her mother finally make their home in New Hampshire Desperate to find Cole, yet afraid of betraying her mother and herself to some unknown danger, Birdie must learn to navigate the white world so that when she sets off in search of her sister, she is ready for what she will find At once a powerful coming of age story and a groundbreaking work on identity and race in America, Caucasia deserves to be read all over Glamour.

    One thought on “Caucasia: A Novel”

    1. The first time I read this book was on a a rainy bus ride in the San Francisco bay area, and I surprised myself by finding myself crying, for it in many ways spoke of my own multiracial experience, albeit in highly fictionalized form.Danzy Senna's first novel, Caucasia, is a story of traumatic dislocation, disorientation, and confused ethnic identity, set in 1970s and 80s Boston and intermittently in other places. It's the story of Birdie Lee, her older sister, and her parents--the neurotic, bro [...]

    2. From this book came the passage that inspired the amazing Seattle hip hop duo, Canary Sing: "The mulatto in America functions as a canary in a coal mine. Canaries were used by coal miners to gauge how poisonous the air underground was. They would bring a canary in with them, and if it grew sick and died they knew the air was bad and eventually everyone would be poisoned by the fumes. Likewise, mulattos have historically been the gauge of how poisonous American race relations were. The fate of th [...]

    3. Sandy is the daughter of a white New England family steeped in certain WASPish traditions and perspectives, a way she is familiar with, yet wishes to challenge both physically and vociferously. Deck Lee was one of Sandy's father's students,an intellectual, his head full of ideas, his motivation always to pursue them and commit them to paper. The two fall in love, their marriage Sandy's ultimate rebellious act, Deck is black.But the story isn't really about these two, the intellectual and the pra [...]

    4. Caucasia was a really good novel. In fact, I had known that it was so intriguing a read, I would have read it sooner. This was a book that has been on the shelves for so long that I actually forgot about it. It may be a book that has been out for so long that many have forgotten about it because I never hear it mentioned in book circles nor have I seen it on anyone's reading list to remind us of its existence. I think it would be a great book club or discussion read because it brings up so many [...]

    5. This is a perfect novel. It's not only a good story with great complicated compelling characters it really tells us a lot about the way race impacts our relationships with one another, and how that changes in time and place. I'm white and grew up in a small town in the South in the late 70s and 80s and the portrayal of small town white culture in that era is painfully accurate: the overt yet casual racism, the way we saw black people as so foreign and different, dangerous yet cool. We were deseg [...]

    6. In a world where we struggle to find our place, issues of race, sex, gender, sexuality and religion strive to complicate matters. In this debut novel of Danzy Senna, she explores all five, without the goal of solving their complexities, but understanding them better. Birdie Lee, a daughter of the revolution, deciphers a society where she was born to "pass" as a spy of sorts between black and white - never grasping hold of her fit. Where does she belong among the nuances of both camps? Since her [...]

    7. Caucasia is the story of Birdie Lee, the daughter of a white mother and a black father. Birdie has an older sister, Cole, who looks like how you would expect a child of her racial mix to look - black. Birdie, on the other hand, looks white. The contrast between the two causes constant confusion, and the never-ending assumption that Birdie must be adopted. The story is told from Birdie's perspective. She is quite young when the book begins and while she seems to understand racial politics to some [...]

    8. It turns out that I am a sucker for books about biracial girls working out their identities. I absolutely loved this book and couldn't shut up about it back when I read it. I haven't touched it since because I don't want to remember it as being anything other than perfect. It's the story of a biracial family in 1970s Boston: black father, white mother, and two daughters, Cole and Birdie. The parents split and the father takes the dark-skinned daughter, Cole, and the mother takes the light-skinne [...]

    9. Birdie and her older sister Cole are daughters of a white mother and a black father, living in Boston in the 1970s. Though the two girls share an impenetrable bond, they begin to realize as they get older that they are divided by how they look: Cole, with her dark skin, fits in with the other girls at their all-black school, while Birdie is light-skinned enough to "pass" as white.When the girls' parents get into some trouble, the family splits apart. Their father and his new girlfriend take Cole [...]

    10. Someone somewhere said that this author was underrated and they were right. This book was so good it hurt. Being biracial myself I idebtified with a lot, but also ached for the protagonist and her forced separation from her community. So, so good.

    11. This is my favorite book I've read so far in my Introduction to College Literature class because it was the only one whose characters have really spoken to me in a way that wasn't preachy or highly metaphorical. Birdie, the main character, is a young mixed race girl growing up in Boston in the late seventies with her white mother, black father, and sister Cole, who is darker than her. Birdie can pass as white, and she feels like she doesn't fit in anywhere or in any race. Her mother, a radical a [...]

    12. this is what great literature is all about. I would claim that every book should be like this book, but every book we read can't leave us feeling like this one left me - it would be too emotionally expensive. it would dilute the jewelry box that I recovered this gem from, it would make its luminosity less viciously vibrant, it would cheapen the absolutely gorgeous, tantalizing effect that its great narrative used to possess me. every book isn't like this book because then this book wouldn't stan [...]

    13. Caucasia is the story of two bi-racial sisters and how the decision made by their parents alter their lives.I found this to be an interesting book because Denzy Senna does a superb job of flavoring her story with an interesting combination of culture, politics and race relationships in a believable manner.This is a good novel. I would recommend this story to anyone who enjoys reading about family relationships, radical politics and a coming of age story that is unique because of the family circu [...]

    14. Growing up in a racially tense decade of the '70s is rough when you're bi-racial. The difficulty of the author growing up on the fence is captivating. With her writing style that is good to read with its flow and form of plotline, the book kept you reading until the end.Not my favorite book I must honestly say, because of the strong resemblence between the tentativeness of the relationship between mother and daughter; it was very real and down to earth, which is okay, no problem with that, just [...]

    15. I read this book many years ago and enjoyed it immensely. It maybe based on real events in the author's life. It's about two sisters, white mother, black father during the civil rights years. The father takes off with the daughter that is more black and the mother keeps the daughter that looks more white. it's an excellent story about identity and family. I enjoyed it and thought about it for a long time afterwards. It just felt honest.

    16. Not only is this an important book, it is also beautifully written. I had never heard of Danzy Senna and picked this up at the library on a whim. It was ahead of its time for 1997, very much current right now, and I highly recommend.

    17. This book was a surprise but, at the same time, it was also a bit of a disappointment. Its writing is beautiful, the story it wants to tell its reader is even more beautiful but, for me there was something that was missing. Those final pages were rather disappointing I must say. I was expecting more. I felt the author spent the whole book building up tension and in the end the bomb didn't explode. I liked it and I would have loved it if the end had been different from what it was.

    18. I just saw this mentioned on off-the-shelf, and remembered I read this about 20 years ago and LOVED IT! If I remember correctly, I hadn't read that many books yet with birracial characters, and I remember how jazzed I was, being birracial, to read characters that I could relate to that part of my life. So glad I remembered I read this!

    19. It took me a while to digest this one, but it was so worth it. An interesting piece of this larger puzzle of racism we're wrestling with--now as well as back then. I'll be thinking about this one for a while.

    20. Caucasia by Danzy Senna asks the question on every mixed persons mind;caucasia-novel"What color do you think I am?"Birdie Lees mom is white. Her father is Black. Her sister Cole is a smooth coffee color. Birdie could be Sicilian. Or Jewish. Maybe Pakistani.Its 1975 in Boston Massachusetts and a revolution is brewing. Deck Lee has discovered the Black Power movement and he wants his daughters to know that in racist America you are either black or you are white. No daughter of his is going to pass [...]

    21. Masterfully crafted vehicle for looking honestly at culture and race. This story is about a family with a white mother and black father and two daughters one dark and one light who are living through the ugliness that was Boston in the 70s. Black militancy, and concepts of Black Power and Black is Beautiful was the response to the demands of social justice brought about by the activism of the 60s in southern Jim Crow states. In 1974 Garrity instituted the desegregation of Boston schools through [...]

    22. I read this many years ago. I know I liked it, but other than that, I don't remember a darn thing about it.

    23. I really enjoyed this book. Caucasia is the story of a young girl named Birdie who is growing up in 1970's Boston with her beloved older sister, Cole, and black father and white mom. Birdie struggles as she moves through her life because she is always being questioned on her race, as she appears to be white with light skin and straight hair. On the other hand her sister appears black with black kinky hair and facial features. Their black father, Deck, feels the need to teach Cole about her peopl [...]

    24. Danzy Senna's CAUCASIA houses a lot of serious issues that deal with racial identity in the United States. Though the book takes place during the late 70s/early 80s, the issues are still poignant today. The coming-of-age story centers around the pigment-ly white Birdie Lee, the daughter of a white mother and black father, and sister to a more visibly-black Cole. When the parents split up, Birdie and Cole are separated from each other, with no clues to each other whereabouts. The story follows th [...]

    25. When we first meet Birdie Lee, she is an 8-year-old whose whole world is her family: her beloved older sister Cole, her fiery and mercurial mother who has turned her back on her upper-class upbringing to do some unspecified underground activities, and her father, a professor at Boston U who writes about race. The fact that her mother is white and her father is black, and the setting is Boston in the 1970s, is critical to the story: although Birdie is sheltered, she is growing up in the middle of [...]

    26. I've read this book a couple times before but each time I read it, I get caught up in the story. One minute I'm on page 331 and transported to Birdie's world and the next I'm on page 400 rejoicing in how awesome this book is. It's such a fantastic tale that it makes it an easy read. The different ways race is weaved in to The story is mind blowing. What I found interesting was the juxtaposition of Birdie at all black Nrkrumah school and Birdie at a mostly all white New Hampshire school. Race see [...]

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