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Pushkin and the Queen of Spades by Alice…

Pushkin and the Queen of Spades (2004)

by Alice Randall

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Hope is the thing with feathers.

-Emily Dickinson
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0618433600, Hardcover)

The unacknowledged boom in African-American fiction continues with Pushkin and the Queen of Spades, a second novel from Alice Randall, author of the nearly banned Gone with the Wind parody, The Wind Done Gone. Windsor Armstrong is a Harvard-educated professor of Russian literature whose son, Pushkin--named after the great Afro-Russian poet--defied all her hopes for him by becoming a star football player. Any other mother would be proud, Windsor reflects. But she had wanted her son to transcend the narrow roles allotted to him as a black man in America. She had wanted more for Pushkin--a place in black bohemia, a place carved out by the writings of Dubois and others. And now, he rejects her again by choosing a Russian lap dancer as his wife.

Windsor's musings--by turns angry, conflicted, wistful, and eccentric--are among the most penetrating comments on race and mother love in contemporary fiction. She recalls her Motown childhood; her cruel, self-hating mother's climb through white society in Washington, D.C.; and the refuge she found at Harvard, slowly uncovering the roots of her racism and her shock and sadness that Pushkin has fallen in love with a woman who does not look like her. And what does Pushkin want from Windsor? Only the truth about who his father is.

Though the novel is a little longer than it needs to be, readers who stay with Randall through the switchbacks and cul-de-sacs of her narrative will be rewarded with stylistic fireworks and an unparalleled examination of black racism. --Regina Marler

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:50 -0400)

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Explores the racial divide in America through the character of Harvard-educated African American professor Windsor Armstrong--a liberal black woman who is troubled by her son's romantic interest in a white Russian stripper.

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