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Summary

From the best-selling author of Caucasia, a subversive and engrossing novel of race, class, and manners in contemporary America.

As the 20th 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.

Heartbreaking and darkly comic, New People is a bold and unfettered novel that challenges our every assumption about how we define one another and ourselves.

©2017 Danzy Senna (P)2017 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"Senna's fearless novel is equal parts beguiling and disturbing...Senna combines the clued-in status details you'd find in a New York magazine article with the narrative invention of big-league fiction.... Every detail and subplot...is resonant. A great book about race and a great book all around." ( Kirkus Reviews)
"The third novel by an author who's been weaving indelible portraits of race and class in America for nearly two decades could not have arrived at a more apt time, as we find ourselves in the aftermath of a real-world presidential election immersed in identity politics.... The stakes of Senna's latest triumph are both personal and global and will provide a powerful and necessary echo of our current cultural climate." ( Harper's Bazaar)
"You'll gulp Senna's novel in a single sitting - but then mull over it for days." ( Entertainment Weekly)

What members say

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • MsMarsha
  • 17-11-17

Different!!

I did not get the point of the story. I am still trying to figure out who are the new people. Are the new people mix races and their thoughts?
The ending leaves the story open for discussion.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 23-09-17

book club book

No one in our book club enjoyed this book. Was it about race or mental illness?

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • CD
  • 21-05-18

Too weird and strange; too many unanswered questio

I love Danzy Senna's writing and have read many of her books, but this one was just too weird and strange for me. And what will actually happen to Maria? So much is just left hanging. I do teach college level AFAM and am always looking for new things to teach, and there was much I valued in this book but overall I just found it unsatisfying and so have not selected it for my class next year.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 27-08-17

Most interesting perspective!

This audio book has such emotionally engaging writing--very interesting up-to-the-minute perspective on our culture. Maria embodies how much life and identities have shifted in her lifetime, really good story too.

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  • Marlene Smith
  • 25-08-17

Just ok

Heard the author interviewed about "New People" on NPR last week & immediately purchased the book. I agreed with the Scott Simon, the interviewer, the "ending was lacking". The story was suspenseful in some areas but didn't go anywhere. It was a strange story that JUST ENDED.

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  • T. Strawberry
  • 12-08-17

Wait what???

Decent book, disappointing ending 😩... I'd read the next one though-- there seems to be a looming series about to take place!

1 of 3 people found this review helpful