In Caucasia—Danzy Senna’s extraordinary debut novel and national bestseller— Birdie and Cole are the daughters of a black father and a white mother. Look out for Danzy Senna’s latest book, New People, on sale in August! Birdie and Cole are the daughters of a black father and a white mother, intellectuals. Maya Jaggi on Danzy Senna’s parable of race, From Caucasia, With Love.

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Review: From Caucasia, With Love by Danzy Senna | Books | The Guardian

Senna has also contributed to anthologies such as Gumbo. An accomplished novel of issues that doesn’t offer any easy solutions but does poignantly evoke the caucxsia and paradox of those caught in the racial crossfire. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. You left me with Mum, knowing she was going to disappear. Her father is Black.

Birdie is the daughter of black Deck, an academic revolutionary, and white Sandy, the blonde, “blue-blooded” daughter of a Harvard professor, who is an activist for a black power cell. It’s the story of Birdie Lee, her older sister, and her parents–the neurotic, broken white mother, and the proud, embittered academic father.

The intersectionality of gender and race is a clear theme in the novel, particularly within the context of beauty standards.

I absolutely loved this book and couldn’t shut up about it back when I read it. Do you believe he is in part responsible for the troubles that befall the family? If race is so make-believe, why did I go with Mum? Senna does acucasia marvelous job capturing the mentality of a child who has been thwarted from formulating her own racial identity.


She chooses a small town in New Hampshire and creates new identities and backgrounds for herself and Birdie. Sep 30, Emma rated it it was ok.

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Sisters Cole aka Colette and Birdie Lee’s parents were a mixed race couple who married in the late sixties. Only when Cory was finally found did our heroine find peace. She rejects the person she has become and throws out as “Victorian crap” her grandmother’s mantel of the “tragic mulatto”, declaring: Her parents’ marriage falls apart; Birdie and her sister are sent to “Nkrumah, The Black power school.

I enjoyed it and thought about it for a long time afterwards. Boston busing desegregation flamed racial tensions, resulting in riots, beatings and violence which persisted for many years. She is quite young when the book begins and while she seems to understand racial politics to some degree her mother is in some sort of radical Black Panthers like group she observes, but is unable to interpret so much of the prejudice and assumptions that go on around her.

She did her undergraduate degree at Stanford Universitywhere she was the founder and editor of the literary journal, Enigma: It is while reading the second part of this novel that the story begins to fall apart. When the girls’ parents get into some trouble, the family splits apart. Throughout the novel, Birdie seeks to understand who she is and how she fits into the world. One day I was here, the next I was gone. A Novel on your Kindle in under a minute.


It may be a book that has been out for so long that many have forgotten about it because I never hear it mentioned in book circles nor have I seen it on anyone’s reading list to remind us of its existence. The almost palpable way this impacts the lives of these two sisters is incredibly moving and unforgettable. Download our Spring Fiction Sampler Now. In this debut novel of Danzy Sennashe explores all five, without the goal of solving their complexities, but understanding them better.

Many people in Birdie’s life try to assign her an identity based on her appearance. The sisters are so close that they have created a private language, yet to the outside world they can’t be sisters: This book gets you really close to Birdie and her narration is so believable and at times really heartbreaking. When Birdie starts to dress and mimic the white girls in her New Hampshire class she does so to be accepted and a part of the white community. Caucasia is the story of two bi-racial sisters and how the decision made by their parents alter their lives.

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Near the end of the school year, Birdie’s parents divorce. It strives for honesty rather than show, illuminating both painful and heartening truths.