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"Pushkin and the Queen of Spades" by Alice Randall

  • Aug 25, 2012 · 2:00 PM
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Please join us for a discussion of this month's book selection, "Pushkin and the Queen of Spades" by Alice Randall. Please come with an open mind, a spirit of fellowship, and a point of view.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Christina

***Book Synopsis***

Randall made a big splash (and got into legal hot water) with her first novel, The Wind Done Gone, a parody of Margaret Mitchell's classic Civil War saga. Her second is nearly as provocative, chronicling the tribulations of an African-American professor of Russian literature whose pro football player son plans to marry a Russian lap dancer. Windsor Armstrong was raped by her mother's white boss just before she went off to Harvard. She named the child she had Pushkin X, went on to get her degree and raised her son almost singlehandedly. Twenty-five years later, she is a tenured professor, trying to adjust to the idea that Pushkin might marry a white stripper called Tanya. Windsor retraces her difficult history to find out how things ended up this way, reminiscing about her Detroit childhood, her glamorous gangster father and her self-centered mother, who took her away from her father and moved to Washington, D.C., and a more privileged life. The novel begins brilliantly, in high satiric mode, with intelligent, unpredictable riffs on Motown vs. D.C., rape and racism, and the difficulty of being a good parent. Windsor's touchstone is the Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, who was the great-grandson of an African slave presented to Peter the Great, and her interest in his complicated history is just one instance of Randall's clever, tables-turning musing on black identity. Windsor's self-questioning can be frustratingly circular, but even when her rhetoric runs away with her, her restless search for answers is stimulating. Fittingly, the novel ends with a rap version of Pushkin's unfinished novella "The Negro of Peter the Great," a conciliatory wedding gift Windsor has prepared for her son and his fiancee. With this heady tale, Randall proves decisively that she is more than a parodist.

***Where to Find the Book***

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Brooklyn Public Library

Hue-Man Bookstore (Online Only)

New York Public Library

Queens Borough Public Library

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  • Christina

    As always I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion! I can't wait until next month.

    August 27, 2012

  • Tammanika W.

    I will to be able to attend. I have been feeling horrible and I thought that i would feel better by now. I don't want to be a no show, so I am changing my RSVP. Hope to see you ladies at the next own. I was looking forward to meeting with you all.

    August 24, 2012

  • Vivian

    I can't make it that day but I have to read this!!!

    August 15, 2012

  • Mickey

    Is there a wait list if someone is unable to attend?

    August 8, 2012

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