Hello from Hancock Point. I haven't done much reading this week because it has been running/ swimming/ hiking/ kayaking weather. Today I saw a seal and a bald eagle on the far side of Bean Island. In between wild life sightings, I finished Senna's most recent novel, New People. First reaction: this book is very different from her earlier (and most famous) novel, Caucasia. Though there are similarities in topic (both focus on the lives of biracial American women), these are entirely different novels. Unlike Caucasia, New People is unconventional and strange (parts of it are almost fantastical and disturbing). I struggled with the first hundred pages before settling into the strange plot.
New People follows Maria, a biracial woman who passes as white, as she prepares for her marriage to college boyfriend, Khalil (also biracial). Senna describes the beautiful couple as the "King and Queen of the Racially Nebulous Prom." They have degrees from Stanford, well paid jobs, and a brownstone in Brooklyn. They hope to name their children Thelonious, Quincy, or Indigo and host dinner parties where "all the guests will be witty and shining in shea butter." They're even featured in a documentary called "New People," which follows men and women "blurring the boundaries of race." Early in the novel, we learn that Maria is infatuated with another man, a black poet (we never learn his name or read his poetry). Maria concocts an obsessive romance in her head and stalks the poet. She finds his address, breaks into his apartment building, and watches him from the fire escape. She even babysits for a family in his building. This is a strange read, though I'm glad I picked it up after Caucasia. Senna is talented and I look forward to reading more of her stuff.