Becky Spratford's Reviews > We Cast a Shadow

We Cast a Shadow by Maurice Carlos Ruffin
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it was amazing

Three Words That Describe This Book: Dark Humor, Intense Satire, Thought Provoking

Last year I read THE SELLOUT and this was a great companion book, in fact, I think it accomplishes much of the same thing as that book but does it in a more accessible way which means more readers.

That is the main point I want to make here. The plot description does a great job telling you what happens, but what I enjoyed about this book was the way the story was told. It was a compelling and interesting plot, the father-son relationship was well developed, and the alternative history story line was "fun." It made the book go faster because you could not accurately predict what would happen; there was just enough otherworldly-ness to the story to keep you on your toes, but enough grounded in our reality that you didn't lose track of the satire.

Also our narrator [nameless] is the key to whether or not you will like the story. Yes he is not a great human, makes bad choices, and is fairly unreliable, but he is also extremely compelling. Ruffin inhabits him and in turn, he captivates the reader. The strong narrative voice here leads the reader though both the plot and the emotions. It was awesome. And, it had a very satisfying ending. Often in these books [especially debuts] where there are many lofty ideas, it doesn't come together. No worries here.

Ultimately this is a book that makes a strong statement about the state of race relations in America right now through an Alternative History lens with obvious satire, but does it all in a package that was also an enjoyable, compelling, and satisfying story.

[Side note: this book is set in an alternative New Orleans and I read this while on vacation in NOLA. ]

Readalikes: See my review of THE SELLOUT as a readalike and for more options. Especially DELICIOUS FOODS! Review:

GET OUT, the movie, is also a perfect readalike. In this case the ad copy got it spot on.

This book also reminded my of THE POWER by Alderman which I reviewed here: Yes I know one is about race and one is about women but they both do the same things with their stories about power, who has it, what it means when the power structure can be flipped or altered. And they both do it with a compelling story that is enjoyable to read without meaning you stop thinking about the larger issues.

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Reading Progress

March 7, 2019 – Started Reading
March 7, 2019 – Shelved
March 25, 2019 – Finished Reading

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