dem

William Melvin Kelley,

dem
 
 
A searing, provocative satire by one of the most important African-American novelists of the twentieth century that lays bare the abiding racism and the legacy of slavery on the psyche of white America.

Mitchell Pierce is a well-off New York ad executive whose marriage is falling apart. He no longer feels any passion for his pregnant wife, Tam, and his toddler son, Jake, has become a disappointment. He feels trapped in an unrewarding and loveless life and though domestic violence is not in Mitchell's character, it is never very far away. Mitchell withdraws to a fantasy world where he can act out his unfulfilled sexual desires.

     Mitchell's life will irrevocably change one day, though, when a young man appears at his apartment door to pick up the family's black maid, Opal, for a date. Cooley it turns out is not a stranger to the household. The twins that Tam is carrying are a result of superfecundation--the fertilization of two separate ova by two different males. So when one child is born black and the other white, Mitchell goes on a quest to find Cooley and make him take his baby.
    In the tradition of Brer Rabbit trickster tales, dem enacts a modern-day fable of the turning the tables on the white oppressor and inverting the history of miscegenation and subjugation of African Americans.


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