Stella, Loretta, Bennett discussed on Fresh Air

Fresh Air


I mentioned earlier. Like the titanic and the iceberg first, cousins Jude and Kennedy are fated to be on a collision course that will in time up in their sense of family and racial identity. Bennett is especially artful in delving into Stella situation, which at first, seems so cushy, but turns out to be fraught with the daily terror of being found out in a section of the novel set in Nineteen. Sixty eight. Stella's exclusively white. Brentwood neighborhood is up in arms because a black family has moved in. In a vexed hesitant, way Stella Finds, Herself Befriending Loretta the wife of the black couple. Daydreaming Stella imagines the relief of confessing her secret to Loretta. I'm not one of them Stella would say I'm like you. You're colored. Loretta would say Stella would tell her because she knew that. If it came down to her word verses Loretta, she would always be believed and knowing this Stella felt for the first time truly white. That's a pretty devastating. Truth contained in Stella's momentary fantasy. Again and again throughout this entertaining and brazenly improbable novel Bennett stops readers, or at least stop this white reader in their tracks with such pointed observations about privilege and racism. As another melodramatic novelist Charles Dickens recognized if you tell people a wild and compelling enough story. They may just listen to things they'd rather not hear Maureen. Corrigan teaches literature at Georgetown University. She reviewed the vanishing half.

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