In 1975 Genna Hewett-Meade's college roommate died a mysterious, violent death partway through their freshman year. Minette Swift had been assertive, fiercely individualistic, and one of the few black girls at their exclusive, "enlightened" college—and Genna, daughter of a prominent civil defense lawyer, felt duty-bound to protect her at all costs. But fifteen years later, while reconstructing Minette's tragic death, Genna is forced to painfully confront her own past life and identity...and her deepest beliefs about social obligation in a morally gray world.
Black Girl / White Girl is a searing double portrait of race and civil rights in postVietnam America, captured by one of the most important literary voices of our time.
Oates is deliberately provocative with this intellectual exercise about America's racial dilemma, but where is she going? She seems to suggest that the left is deluding itself, but surely the left is more nuanced than this when it comes to race, and we'd expect a novel to explore that nuance rather than oversimplify it. Oates dares to ask, how well do we know each other? But in her attempt to explore the duality of American racism, her truth is one-dimensional, even as it makes for fascinating reading.