Jinny Chung's Reviews > Sag Harbor

Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead
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's review
Jul 30, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: love-love-love
Read in May, 2009

Hysterical! Pregnant with 80s pop culture nods, including, of course, New Coke. Teenage ennui does not get funnier than this. And somehow, after all the giggles, it's still... poignant. Even better if you're a sibling. Colson just gets it, and as sure as I am that the man's got influences, he's definitely seized a voice and style like no other. Perfect summer read.

My favorite blurb:

"I had been addicted to Coke for years, with a two- or three-can-a-day habit since the fifth grade, starting around the same time my schoolmates started stealing, now that I think about it. When my sister told me not to be so hyper, or my parents told me to knock it off, I vibrated with the strain of keeping still, and wondered why nature had cursed me so -- it wasn't until I was in high school that I learned what caffeine was. My love for Coke went beyond mere buzz, however. How could one not be charmed by the effervescent joviality of a tall glass of the stuff -- the manic activity of the bubbles, popping, reforming, popping anew, sliding up the inside of the glass to freedom, as if the beverage were actually, miraculously, caffeinated on itself. That tart first sip, preferably with ice knocking against the lips for an added sensory flourish, that stunned the brain into total recall of pleasure, of all the Cokes consumed before and all those impending Cokes, the long line of satisfaction underpinning a life. What forgiveness for the supreme disappointment of a fountain Coke that turned out to be fizzless and dead, or a lukewarm Coke that had been sitting for a while, falling away from its ideal temperature of 46.5 degrees Fahrenheit/8 degrees Celsius, all the bubbles fled, so that it had become a useless mud of sugar. Which is what New Coke tasted like, actually."

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