Meet the unforgettable Leifur Nils Kristjansson Saint Marie du Cotton (you can call him Lee). From his Icelandic father come his porcelain skin, flaxen hair, and azure eyes; from his mixed-race mother comes his black identity; from his Mambo grandmother comes his gift of hearing Les Voix - the spirits, living and dead. Lee begins life as a black boy born white-skinned in segregated Eureka, Mississippi, in 1950. Over the course of Lee's first twenty years, he will fall in love with the daughter of a local Klansman, get kicked senseless and left for dead on a freight train headed north, end up in St. Louis as a white man, and be drafted into the psychops corps in Nevada. There, a drunken accident will separate Lee from another part of his identity and change his fate yet again.Lee Cotton's voice - guileless, charming, equal parts Delta Blues and Motown - takes us on a hilarious, exhilarating freedom ride through America's preoccupation with identity politics. Lee travels widely in a variety of skin colors and genders, transforming others as he has transformed himself.This very American novel was written by a British citizen, though Lee Cotton wouldn't want us to hold that against him. Indeed, perhaps only an outside witness could so ingeniously create a character who experiences the tragic absurdities of our cultural exclusions while at the same time represents the better angels of our nature.
- Hardback | 314 pages
- 152.4 x 233.7 x 30.5mm | 544.32g
- 03 Oct 2005
- HOUGHTON MIFFLIN
- United States