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Loving Day

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  3,561 ratings  ·  541 reviews
From the author of the critically beloved Pym comes a ruthlessly comic and moving tale of a man discovering a lost daughter, confronting an elusive ghost, and stumbling onto the possibility of utopia.

"In the ghetto there is a mansion, and it is my father's house."

Warren Duffy has returned to America for all the worst reasons: His marriage to a beautiful Welsh woman has co
Hardcover, 287 pages
Published May 26th 2015 by Spiegel & Grau
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Average rating 3.54  · 
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Meredith ( on Semi-Hiatus until February)
Loving Day is about one man’s quest to understand racial identity in America. In doing so, he comes to embrace his heritage and develop his own identity.

Warren Duffy’s life is in shambles. Recently divorced, Warren moves from Wales to Germantown, Pennsylvania, where he grew up. Broke and reeling from the failure of his marriage and failed comic bookstore business, his plan is to burn down the dilapidated mansion that he inherited from his later father and use the insurance money to start over.
Diane S ☔
Jun 24, 2015 rated it liked it
A very mixed read for me. I enjoyed the dark humor, the fact that this is based on Loving Day, and the fact that much of this seems autobiographical.

A man confused about where he fits in, with a black mother and an Irish father. He has always identified with his blackness, although he is light skinned. Divorced, returning to the city he was raised in after the death of his father, he is confronted with a very changed neighborhood and the wreck of a house. He soon finds out he also has a sevente
lark benobi
Amazing first half. After that the book still hums along with humor--the scenes and events aren't necessarily all plausible and plot-related, but they are still very, very funny.

The more I think about this book, the more I love it, actually. I love that Mat Johnson wrote a book full of love and joy about racial identity politics, a topic that not very many people feel confident to laugh about. I revisited the novel just this afternoon, and realized that it was one of my most joyful reads of 201
Warren Duffy is having a thirty-something crash. His marriage to a Welsh woman has fallen apart because he's not ready for fatherhood and her clock is ticking, and his "career" as a comic book illustrator and seller has tanked. With nowhere else to go, he ends up in the mansion his father was renovating in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia ... only to find himself suddenly presented with a 17-year-old Jewish daughter (who has darker skin than he's got), and facing a full-blown racial i
La Tonya  Jordan
Nov 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to La Tonya by: Go On Girl Book - NAACP Selction Book
Shelves: good-read
Biracial, a person of mixed heritage, half black and half European, a little Indian, African and European this is what mulattoes call themselves. And, if all else fails call yourself Puerto Rican. This is a very funny, witty, and cleverly written book about finding your racial identity for people of mixed heritage.

Warren Duffy has a black mother and an Irish father. He is pale enough to pass for white. But, he was raised in Germantown, a black section of Philadelphia, and to identify black (no
Feb 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy of Loving Day. 3 1/2 stars. I had never heard of Loving Day -- the date -- until half way through this book, when the narrator explained that Loving Day falls on June 12th every year and marks the anniversary of the 1967 decision in which the Supreme Court struck down the remaining anti miscegenation laws in a number of US states. Loving was the last name of Mildred and Charles Loving who were charged under anti ...more
Mocha Girl
Oct 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved Loving Day - it is a funny, thought-provoking romp based in the City of Brotherly Love that will definitely promote discussions on race and ethnicity in America. Steeped in satire and stereotypes, the novel’s protagonist, Warren Duffy, is a lovable character who seemingly can not catch a break: he’s recently divorced, unemployed, orphaned, and nearly broke. His Irish American father has recently died and Warren returns to Philadelphia to settle family affairs, including his inheritance: ...more
Monica **can't read fast enough**
I had a difficult time deciding how I felt about Loving Day when I read it back in September of last year. There are some very funny, laugh out loud moments in this story; especially in the beginning. There are moments of poignancy that made me think about how difficult it could be to have your outside appearance not fit with how you feel on the inside. Just how much our individual identities are often tied to our skin color and even how attractive others perceive us to be is often much more imp ...more
Quirky, funny, interesting and thoughtful. This book was a bit of "a year in the life" of a biracial (white and African American) young man (Warren) who discovers that he has a nearly grown daughter (Tal) with a Jewish girl from high school. Other than the sex, he had no real connection with the mother, but 17 years and one failed marriage later, he finds that having a daughter gave him purpose. She made him matter. The rub here is that Tal did not know she had any African-American blood. She wa ...more
Jessica Woodbury
Nov 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book belongs in that literary tradition of hapless protagonists who rarely act but are often acted upon, who keep finding themselves in a tight spot, who are surrounded by larger-than-life characters, and who inevitably muck it all up when they do try to change the course of their lives. But instead of being yet another hapless protagonist, Warren is a biracial man who identifies as black but passes as white. And every single thing that happens in LOVING DAY has something to do with racial ...more
Jonathan K
Jul 25, 2020 rated it liked it
An interesting idea, but I found it difficult to engage with the characters who all seem to be angry about being mixed ethnicity. On the positive side, the characters are unusual but overall the story lacked the chemistry and depth I had hoped for. With so many racially based stories, this one is weak. Not much else to say about it.
Jun 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
I don't know what all I expected from this book. It tackles many topics and I appreciate the way that the author constructed such an intricate fabric of characters and obstacles. I would read this book in a year or so as I am sure that my understanding will change. ...more
Oct 05, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: unfinished
This had promise, with an opening line like "In the ghetto there is a mansion, and it is my father's house." The concept is interesting and thought provoking, but the plot just lost me as it got weirder and I couldn't get into it. ...more
Feb 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-review
ARC for review.

Warren Duffy is a mixed-race, recently-divorced, just-returned-ex-pat, minor league comic book writer. His divorce and the death of his father bring him back to his old neighborhood, Germantown in Philadelphia. His father had purchased, and was restoring an decrepit mansion in Germantown. With little money and few choices, Warren moves in, hoping to get it suitable for sale. In the mean time he needs money to live on, so he goes to a paid gig at a comic book convention, where he'
Sep 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
If ever there was a year to read novels about racial issues in America, this would be it. So I am. I read The Sellout in March; Homegoing in July, and now Loving Day.

Set in Philadelphia and in some ways similar to The Sellout, this one is more focused on the mixed race experience. Of course, if we didn't suffer so severely from racism in this country, being racially mixed would not be a problem.

Mat Johnson is a versatile writer who can move effortlessly between humor and serious heartfelt stuff
Mar 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Mat Johnson uses his unique humor to shed light on the dilemmas faced by biracial people in the United States. I found myself laughing out loud several times as I quickly read through this tale of one man's quest to become the parent to a child he didn't know existed. I highly recommend it and will seek out more of his work!

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review. No other consideration was offered, expected or received.
Jul 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Blended Americans

“Loving Day” is a timely book. It deals with race, racism, and the sometimes amorphous definitions of both. The main character is a cartoon illustrator who’s the product of a black woman and an Irish man so he’s very light and often not recognized as being African American though that’s the identity he internalizes. The story is about his losses but also some surprise additions that bring challenges to his life. Along the way he falls in with a group of people with ambiguous her
Feb 13, 2018 marked it as library-to-read
Shelves: mobius, okc, more-wi
So I guess I need to learn something. Tal is 3/4 white, and is passing, and knows nothing of her black heritage. So what makes her black? Yes I know about the 'one-drop' rule, but wasn't that a bad thing? I hope my library has this book and that the author helps me overcome my ignorance. Sincerely. ...more
Scott Rhee
In 1958 a young woman named Mildred married a man named Richard Loving in Washington, D.C. They were both promptly arrested after returning to their hometown of Richmond, VA. Their crime? Mildred was a white woman and Richard was a black man.

Interracial marriage wasn’t just frowned upon in 1958, it was actually a crime in many states, punishable by jail time or, in the case of this young couple, forced expulsion from the state in which they lived.

They sued the state in a now-famous U.S. Supreme
Aug 31, 2015 rated it liked it
50% of this book was great and the other half not so great. The best half explored the topic of being biracial from many aspects. The main protagonist, Warren Duffy, is half Caucasian from his Irish father and black from his mother. One day a young teenager, Tal, confronts Warren that he is her father. He is. At sixteen, Warren impregnates a fourteen year old Jewish girl, Cindy Karp. Cindy is deceased and grandfather Irving Karp is handing Tal off to Warren. Tal has dropped out of school. Warren ...more
Feb 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Mat Johnson has a very funny (as in comical) way of looking at the world, perhaps because he grew up with a fair number of people looking at him funny (as in odd). Is he black, is he white? The box you decide to put a person into upon introduction, the label you instantly apply to their existence, shapes the dynamics of the relationship you will have with them. If you're not sure of which box to go with, which label to use, then what is there to guide your first impression? If you're not sure wh ...more
May 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
What a great read! As usual, I'm not into plot summaries in my reviews, you don't need me for that. Loving Day has one of my favorite opening lines of all time: "In the ghetto there is a mansion, and it is my father's house." Just this sentence alone lets you know you are in the hands of a writer who can pack story, emotion, and humor into a small literary space. Dark humor well done is hard to find in a novel, especially a novel that is also thoughtful, tender, has strong characters, and a stro ...more
Brittany (brittanymariereads) E.
Loving Day was such an amazing and unique read. It was different from anything else that I have ever read. It was engaging and informational. It shares an important message about understanding and accepting who you are. The book primarily centers around people of African and European descent but the message can pertain to anyone.

Mat Johnson was able to take an important issue and turn it into a creative plot with real characters that, at times, had me laughing out loud. It was witty and smart in
Allen Adams
May 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing

As a culture, we’ve gotten better about discussing race, but the truth is that we’re still pretty bad at it. We’re disquieted by and uncomfortable at the notion of having frank discussions; the reasons are legion, but almost all of us have one. So it’s remarkable when someone comes along and is able to tell a story that revolves around race without ever coming off as heavy-handed or preachy.

Mat Johnson’s “Loving Day” is just such a story, an equal-parts fu
Apr 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Deborah by: The Millions
Shelves: netgalley, own, tob-2016
This is not an intentional play on the title, but I loved Loving Day. Despite being up against some stiff competition, including Cynthia Bond's Ruby, Howard Jacobson's J, and Ausma Zehanat Khan's The Unquiet Dead, Loving Day is my favorite read of 2015 thus far.

Mat Johnson's writing is spectacular, with a slew of "quotable quotes" (many of which I have posted in the Quotes section of Goodreads). Just consider these opening lines:
In the ghetto there is a mansion, and it is my father's house. It s
Mat Johnson's "Loving Day" tackles several issues: colorism, racism, ethnicity, identity and acceptance, family, responsibility, and (of course) love. Despite its chaos and controversy, this book is infused with tenderness and a unique brand of humor that showcases Johnson's awareness and razor sharp wit. All of this makes for a hectic yet entertaining read.

Warren Duffy has just come back to Philadelphia after the death of his father. A struggling comics artist with an ex-wife to reimburse for f
Kasa Cotugno
Mat Johnson's day job as a university professor of creative literature is evident on every page of this heartfelt, at times, hilarious account of Warren Duffy's return to his hometown of Philadelphia. Duffy's father has just died, he's gotten a divorce from his Welsh wife and lost his comic book shop in Cardiff, and things couldn't be looking blacker, except for his skin. You see, Warren's father was Irish, his mother, African American, but his complexion has remained light. Upon his return to h ...more
If there is ever a writer today writing with a critically satirical eye to racial politics and identity it is Mat Johnson. In Loving Day, Johnson gives us a comic novel about uncomfortable-in-his-own-skin Warren Duffy. The novel opens with Duffy having to close down his comic book store in Wales and return to Philadelphia, his hometown, to deal with a run-down, roofless old mansion his late father left him. It’s a money-pit inheritance he’d rather not deal with, but there he is, broke, freshly ...more
May 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing

Loving Day – an annual celebration held on June 12, the anniversary of the 1967 United States Supreme Court decision Loving Vs Virginia which struck down all anti-miscegenation laws remaining in sixteen US states citing “There can be no doubt that restricting the freedom to marry solely because of racial classifications violates the central meaning of the equal protection clause”.

Warren Duffy’s life has not been going well. He has just come out of a rancorous divorce and he’s behind o
Oct 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Mat Johnson
Loving Day
Spiegel & Grau
Hardcover, 978-0-8129-9345-5 (also available as audiobook, as ebook, and on audio CD), 304 pgs., $26.00
May 26, 2015

“I’m not white, but I can feel the eyes of the few people outside on me, people who must think that I am, because I look white….This disconnect in my racial projection is one of the things I hate.… My mother was black — that counts, no matter how pale and Irish my father was.”

Warren Duffy’s father has died, and Warren returns to Philadelp
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Mixed Remixed Fes...: Loving Day by Mat Johnson is our 1st Book Club Pick 15 38 Oct 05, 2016 05:58AM  
Mixed Remixed Fes...: Interviews with Mat Johnson 1 15 Sep 12, 2016 02:53PM  
Go On Girl! Book...: * What Did You Think of the Book? 2 6 Aug 29, 2016 06:35AM  
Go On Girl! Book...: Videos 1 2 Aug 04, 2016 03:25PM  
Go On Girl! Book...: About Mat Johnson 5 4 Jul 07, 2016 08:03PM  
Go On Girl! Book...: The Lovings 2 3 Jul 07, 2016 07:55PM  

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Mat Johnson is an American writer of literary fiction who works in both prose and the comics format. In 2007, he was named the first USA James Baldwin Fellow by United States Artists.

Johnson was born and raised in the Germantown and Mount Airy communities in Philadelphia.

His mother is African American and his father is Irish Catholic. He attended Greene Street Friends School, West Chester Univers

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“I have found that, in the African American oral tradition, if the words are enunciated eloquently enough, no one examines the meaning for definitive truth.” 8 likes
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