Colson Whitehead Explores His Personal Archeology of the 80’s

April 14, 2009
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Sag Harbor
Sag Harbor

(Random House, April 2009)
ISBN: 978-0-385-52765-1 (0-385-52765-9)
BookFlix (Video Interview,
courtesy of Random House)
Length: About 25 minutes

 

[wposflv src=http://www.authorlink.com/av/whitehead_colson.flv previewimage=/articles/images/in_09_04_19_colson.gif width=450 height=250 title=”Sag Harbor”]

Pulitzer Prize finalist Colson Whitehead talks about
his warm, funny, and supremely original new novel

VIDEO Interview

April 2009

Colson Whitehead's newest novel, Sag Harbor, will be released from Random House in late April. He was born in New York City. His first novel, The Intuitionist, won the QPB New Voices Award and was an Ernest Hemingway/PEN Award finalist. His second novel, John Henry Days, was a Pulitzer Prize Finalist, a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist and a New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice. He is also the recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award. Whitehead lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Sag Harbor begins in 1985. Benji Cooper is one of the only black students at an elite prep school in Manhattan. After a tragic mishap on his first day of high school—when Benji reveals his deep enthusiasm for the horror movie magazine Fangoria—his social doom is sealed for the next four years.

But every summer, Benji escapes to the Hamptons, to Sag Harbor, where a small community of African American professionals have built a world of their own.

There will be trials and tribulations, of course. There will be complicated new handshakes to fumble through, and state-of-the-art profanity to master. He will be tested by contests big and small, by his misshapen haircut (which seems to have a will of its own), by the New Coke Tragedy of ’85, and by his secret Lite FM addiction. But maybe, with a little luck, things will turn out differently this summer.

In this deeply affectionate and fiercely funny coming-of-age novel, Whitehead—using the perpetual mortification of teenage existence and the desperate quest for reinvention—lithely probes the elusive nature of identity, both personal and communal.

 

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