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You may have read that Quaker Oats, owner of the Aunt Jemima brand, finally eliminated the trademark. Normally this incidental business/racial Information would be worth a glance or two but many people might pay little attention to it. Reading the chapter in Norris's book on her grandmother's job as one of the many Aunt Jemimas shines a strong light on the depth and sometimes pride and shame that accompany the revelation. Her grandmother had a job playing the former 'happy' slave. Norris, a notable American journalist, has written a family memoir which chronicles a struggle for dignity, and historically, one of the major tools to accomplish this was graceful silence. Much of the book focuses on her father, a returning Navy veteran of World War ll, who is shot by police in Alabama a few days after being discharged. People fought for their country and came home to find a war against them because they wanted to vote. They wanted the same things they were fighting for in other countries. This may all sound heavy, but this is a beautifully written book, loving and poignant. As my daughter Tamar says, it’s a page turner, but not a mystery.
This is a wonderful story that I wish existed when I was growing up. It is an unforgettable memoir about a mixed-race Jewish woman who, after fifteen years of estrangement from her racist great-aunt, helps bring her home when Alzheimer's strikes. Marra's biological mother was unwed, white, and Jewish, and her biological father was black. While still a child, Marra came to realize that she was a mixed-race "Jewish unicorn." In black spaces, she was not "black enough" or told that it was okay to be Christian or Muslim, but not Jewish. In Jewish spaces, she was mistaken for the help, asked to leave, or worse. Marra holds her head high throughout this bracing and brave autobiography.
This novel imagines that all of the Palestinians in Israel have suddenly vanished. What comes next? Set in Tel Aviv, forty-eight hours after Israelis discover that all of their non-Israeli neighbours have vanished, the story unfolds through alternating narrators, all trying to make sense of what has happened. This is a great story, original and insightful.
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