Loving Day/ posted in: Reading Loving Day by Mat Johnson
on May 26th 2015
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In the ghetto there is a mansion, and it is my father's house.
Warren Duffy is back in Philadelphia to look after his inheritance - a decrepit historic mansion that his father bought with hopes of repairing. He is getting divorced from his wife in Wales and his comic book shop has gone under. Now he finds out that he has a teenage daughter and she has no idea that she is part black.
Finding out you have a daughter is tough. It is even worse when she turns out to be racist.
Warren is a very light skinned black man.
(I understand this quote. My husband is of Southern European origin and grew up partially in the South. He was considered too dark for some company. I totally don’t get it. I look at him and see generic white guy. I’m passing this book on to my husband to see what he thinks.)
Warren is approached by a woman at a comic convention who asks him why he identifies as black when he is equally white. She is from a mixed race group called Melange. Warren and his daughter Tal get more and more involved with them as Warren tries to overcome his daughter’s racist understanding of the world.
As Warren gets more involved with Melange he starts to wonder if it has been correct to always emphasize his black heritage and never his white ancestors. This doesn’t sit well with some of his friends. America has always worked on the One Drop rule – one drop of black blood and you are black. They think that embracing your European side is something only self hating black people do.
In the meantime, his house is falling down around him; he is dreaming of arson; the woman he’s interested in is not as interested in him; and he either has an infestation of ghosts or crackheads.
Loving Day is a comic novel that touches on many deep issues about race in America today.
- How do we define ourselves and how does that change us?
- How does our identity affect our relationships with other people?
- Will any group segregate if left to its own devices?