From the author of the Man Booker longlisted The Underground Railroad
Benji spends most of the year as one of the only black kids at an elite prep school in Manhattan, going to roller disco bar mitzvahs, desperately trying to find his place in the social hierarchy.
Then he spends his summers in the African-American community of Sag Harbor on Long Island, and is just as confused. He’s way behind on the latest handshakes, baffled by new slang, and his attempts to be cool and meet girls are constantly thwarted by his extremely awkward inner geek, braces and a badly cut Afro.
It’s the summer of 1985 and Benji is determined that this is the summer when things will change and he’ll fit in. For starters, he’ll be reinvented as ‘Ben’. When that doesn’t catch on, it’s another summer of the perpetual mortification that is teenage existence.
Whitehead has tapped the most classic summer-novel activity of al: nostalgia * Time * it is impossible not to like Sag Harbor and its genuinely empathetic, intelligent tone — Neel Mukherjee * The Times * Whitehead proves himself, among other things, a poet of the American summer and its aspirations…remarkable * Guardian * A universal tale of adolescent angst — Adrian Turpin * Financial Times * The ultimate coming of age tale — Nikesh Shukla
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