New People

New People

Book - 2017
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As the twentieth century draws to a close, Maria is at the start of a life she never thought possible. She and Khalil, her college sweetheart, are planning their wedding. They are the perfect couple, "King and Queen of the Racially Nebulous Prom." Their skin is the same shade of beige. They live together in a black bohemian enclave in Brooklyn, where Khalil is riding the wave of the first dot-com boom and Maria is plugging away at her dissertation, on the Jonestown massacre. They've even landed a starring role in a documentary about "new people" like them, who are blurring the old boundaries as a brave new era dawns. Everything Maria knows she should want lies before her--yet she can't stop daydreaming about another man, a poet she barely knows. As fantasy escalates to fixation, it dredges up secrets from the past and threatens to unravel not only Maria's perfect new life but her very persona.
Publisher: New York :, Riverhead Books,, 2017
ISBN: 9781594487095
159448709X
9780698172463
0698172469
9780735219410
0735219419
Branch Call Number: Fiction
Characteristics: 229 pages ; 22 cm

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eappelbaum
Feb 26, 2020

I enjoyed the book. Sometimes it seems implausible, like a dream, as when Maria is mistaken for someone who does not look like her. She is is obsessed with the Jonestown massacre; in her way, she is almost as crazy and self-destructive as they are. Like the movie Parasite, the book seems to be a comedy, but becomes a tragedy.

e
EljayJohnson
Jul 08, 2019

Very well-written and compelling. For almost all of this short book, I thought I was reading a satirical book about race, sex, urban intellectuals, and privilege from the POV of Maria, a self-loathing, unbalanced young biracial woman trying to manage an emotional crisis. Maria is a Ph.D student obsessed with the Jonestown massacre, the subject of her dissertation. She's engaged to Khalil, a lovely man, and together they're the subject of a documentary about "new people;" bi/multi-racial young urbanites in late 1990s trendy Brooklyn. She's obsessed with a male poet in her social circle; viciously despises her future sister-in-law; coming to terms with the death of her adoptive African-American mother. All of this has Maria untethered and lost; she is nothing short of extremely unlikable, making many awful choices, and truly a bitch to people who actually care for her. However, the ending takes a sharp turn down a darker path and I realized Maria is not only rage-filled and self-destructive, but much more dangerous than that. Fascinating and ugly, dark and gripping. This is one I would love to discuss.

e
ElleBee
Jul 02, 2018

I quite enjoyed this novel. For more insight, I would suggest reading the following review:

https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/the-ineradicable-color-line-danzy-sennas-new-people/#!

s
sskjensen
Oct 04, 2017

I was very disappointed in this book and wondered why I kept reading it. Yes, Senna writes well and, yes, there are some interesting insights. However, I did not like Maria, the main character, and I found believability an issue with a lot of the situations in which she became enmeshed. At the end, Maria was a "stalker" with few, if any, redeeming characteristics. The ending left me wondering if there were a few chapters left out or, if, like me, the author just reached the point where she didn't care for Maria and left us all dangling because she couldn't bring herself to finish the book. It certainly didn't lead me to wanting to read anything else by this author. My judgment? Don't waste your time!

p
peg_1
Sep 04, 2017

Interesting but leaves you high and dry. Hard to like Maria.

l
laphampeak
Aug 08, 2017

An unusual, entertaining slice of life. Maria is engaged to Khalil but secretly has a quasi relationship with "the poet" and goes to unusual and hilarious ways to follow him. Maria and Khalil are being filmed in a documentary New People at the same time they are planning their wedding. The story is threaded through with Maria's research on the Jim Jones massacre, her relationship with Gloria her adoptive mother, and her male relationships. Senna weaves colorful, entertaining, and clever subplots without it becoming heavy or too complicated.
A delightful read!

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