Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Professor's Daughter

The Professor's Daughter, by Emily Raboteau, is a fine "novel in stories." The collection is mostly narrated by Emma Boudreaux (the similarity to the author's name is no coincidence), whose father is black (a professor at Princeton), mother is white (and neurotic) and brother is beautiful until an accident disfigures him. Emma is a quiet, introspective child, who is deeply affected by Bernie's tragedy. The story telling is emotional, in a gentle way, with contoured renderings of Emma's thoughts and reactions.

"My brother couldn't read until he was eleven. I was ten and Bernie was eleven and he was reading coming books and I was reading Wuthering Heights. But he had friends and I didn't have any except for Hadas who lived around the corner and had a wandering eye. Our first Halloween in Princeton we went trick-or-treating with some kids from the neighborhood. I was Sojourner Truth and nobody knew who that was so I hated my costume and wanted to go home whereas Bernie was making himself adored by breaking raw eggs into every mailbox up and donw the block. It was no better the next year when I dressed up like Miss Havisham from Great Expectations. 'What are you supposed to be?' they asked."

Emily Raboteau received her MFA from NYU and teaches at City College of New York. We were both in Grace Paley's workshop at Under the Volcano in January 2005. A nice person, and a terrific writer.


katrina said...

I've eyed that book several times...but I need to read six more before I can buy. ;)

Clifford Garstang said...

What ratio (read/buy) are you using?

I was in a Barnes & Noble yesterday and had Ian McEwan's new book in my hand, but resisted the temptation (highly unusual for me). There was a new T.R. Pearson I wanted also. I had a B&N coupon though that couldn't go to waste, so I picked up the 2005 Novel & Short Story Writers Market and a lit journal, which I figured didn't count.

katrina said...

Certainly the market guide and the lit journal should not count. ;)

I'm trying to read three for every one I buy...I'm already owing the kitty.