Front Cover
Riverhead Books, 1998 - Fiction - 413 pages
220 Reviews
Birdie and Cole are the daughters of a black father and a white mother, intellectuals and activists in the civil rights movement in Boston in the 1970s. The sisters are so close that they have created a private language, yet to the outside world they can't be sisters: while Cole looks like her father's daughter, Birdie appears to be white. For Birdie, Cole is the mirror in which she can see her own blackness. Then their parents marriage falls apart. Their father moves in with his black girlfriend, who won't even look at Birdie, and their mother seems to be more and more out of control, giving her life over to the movement. At night the sisters watch mysterious men arrive at their house with bundles shaped like rifles. One night, through the attic windows 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 have in the States. And the next morning, in the belief that the Feds are after them, Birdie and her mother have left 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 drive through the Northeast, eventually making their home in New Hampshire. Desperate to find her sister, yet afraid of betraying her mother and herself to some unknown danger, Birdie must learn to navigate the white world and the pains of adolescence - until she is finally prepared to set off in search of her sister.

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Excellent and moving storyline with good crisp writing. - Goodreads
And the ending was really bad. - Goodreads
Some poignant insights and humorous antidotes. - Goodreads
Great meshing of politics and, well, prose. - Goodreads
The ending brought me to tears. - Goodreads
Senna is an amazing writer. - Goodreads
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I haven't read the book yet but I already don't like the introduction. Why did Danzy name the darker skin sister Cole and the lighter tone sister Birdie? Birdie is an extremely strong compliment toward like skin; a bird takes flight and sour with God's clouds while the Cole is dug up from the confines of the cold dirty earth. No I will not read it. Bye. 

Review: Caucasia

User Review  - Joanna Hamadeh - Goodreads

Compelling and humorous story..but also felt too long and drawn out. There are certain aspects of the story that felt contrived and over-the-top. Read full review



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About the author (1998)

Danzy Senna's first novel, "Caucasia," was the winner of the Book-of-the-Month Club's Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction and an American Library Association Alex Award. It was a finalist for an International IMPAC Dublin Award, and was a "Los Angeles Times" Best Book of the Year. Her short fiction and essays have been widely anthologized. She is a recipient of the 2002 Whiting Writers' Award and currently holds the Jenks Chair of Contemporary American/Letters at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts.

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