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Sag Harbor (Paperback)

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Sag Harbor Whitehead, Colson 1 of 1
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Learn more about Sag Harbor:

Format: Paperback
ISBN-10: 0307455165
ISBN-13: 9780307455161
Sku: 212123861
Publish Date: 6/15/2010
Pages:  329
See more in Coming of Age
 
In this deeply affectionate and fiercely funny coming-of-age novel, Whitehead--using the perpetual mortification of teenage existence and the desperate quest for reinvention--beautifully explores racial and class identity, illustrating the complex rhythms of the adult world.
From the Publisher:
The warm, funny, and supremely original new novel from one of the most acclaimed writers in America

The year is 1985. Benji Cooper is one of the only black students at an elite prep school in Manhattan. He spends his falls and winters going to roller-disco bar mitzvahs, playing too much Dungeons and Dragons, and trying to catch glimpses of nudity on late-night cable TV. After a tragic mishap on his first day of high school—when Benji reveals his deep enthusiasm for the horror movie magazine Fangoria—his social doom is sealed for the next four years.
But every summer, Benji escapes to the Hamptons, to Sag Harbor, where a small community of African American professionals have built a world of their own. Because their parents come out only on weekends, he and his friends are left to their own devices for three glorious months. And although he’s just as confused about this all-black refuge as he is about the white world he negotiates the rest of the year, he thinks that maybe this summer things will be different. If all goes according to plan, that is.
There will be trials and tribulations, of course. There will be complicated new handshakes to fumble through, and state-of-the-art profanity to master. He will be tested by contests big and small, by his misshapen haircut (which seems to have a will of its own), by the New Coke Tragedy of ’85, and by his secret Lite FM addiction. But maybe, with a little luck, things will turn out differently this summer.
In this deeply affectionate and fiercely funny coming-of-age novel, Whitehead—using the perpetual mortification of teenage existence and the desperate quest for reinvention—lithely probes the elusive nature of identity, both personal and communal.
Annotation:
Colson Whitehead's (JOHN HENRY DAYS) fourth novel is a break from his more outlandish previous works, focusing on the idle summer days of two teenage brothers in the African-American beach community of Sag Harbor during a summer in the 1980s. This autobiographical tale shows Reggie and Benji as they deal with the usual high-school interests of girls, cars, and comic books, but in Whitehead's supremely gifted hands, the coming-of-age novel provides a delirious and scathing take on the culture of the 80s. Whitehead's erudite wit and intellectual panache are still on display, even as he explores new emotional depths in his fiction. Selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the 100 Best Books of 2009 and by the New York Times Book Review as a Notable Book of 2009.Colson Whitehead's (JOHN HENRY DAYS) fourth novel is a break from his more outlandish previous works, focusing on the idle summer days of two teenage brothers in the African-American beach community of Sag Harbor during a summer in the 1980s. This autobiographical tale shows Reggie and Benji as they deal with the usual high-school interests of girls, cars, and comic books, but in Whitehead's supremely gifted hands, the coming-of-age novel provides a delirious and scathing take on the culture of the 80s. Whitehead's erudite wit and intellectual panache are still on display, even as he explores new emotional depths in his fiction. Selected by Publishers Weekly as one of the 100 Best Books of 2009 and by the New York Times Book Review as a Notable Book of 2009.
Author Bio
Colson Whitehead
Colson Whitehead, the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and a Pulitzer Prize nominee, has written about an eclectic array of topics, including elevator inspectors (THE INTUITIONIST, 1999), black folk figures (JOHN HENRY DAYS, 2001), flesh-tone bandages (APEX HIDES THE HURT, 2006), and zombies (ZONE ONE, 2001). "I think if you do your job, then people will come to it--whether it's about elevator inspectors, or John Henry, or zombies," he told one interviewer. "[Because] it's not just about elevator inspectors, it's not just about zombies--it's about people, it's about culture." Whitehead has lived in New York his entire life, and his passion for the city is evident in his essay collection, THE COLOSSUS OF NEW YORK (2004), which his publisher deemed "a literary love song." The author was the product of a solidly middle-class upbringing; his father, Arch, was a Dartmouth graduate who owned a successful business-research firm, which he had established in the early 1960s, after being told that few companies were hiring African-American executives. Whitehead set his most autobiographical novel, SAG HARBOR (2009), in a summer resort on the Long Island Sound popular with black professionals. From an early age, he was an avid fan of horror novels and films, and in the early 1980s, with the advent of VCRs, he and his brother routinely watched five movies a week, renting them from a New York City shop called Crazy Eddie's. After graduating from Harvard in 1991--with his love of pop culture firmly intact--he began working at the VILLAGE VOICE, an alternative newspaper for which he reviewed music, books, and TV shows. Whitehead's first novel, THE INTUITIONIST, won critical acclaim, and his subsequent books cemented his reputation as one of the most talented writers of his generation. Nancy Pearl wrote that Whitehead's "stylish prose . . . will bring to mind Kurt Vonnegut and Thomas Pynchon," and he is frequently referred to as an heir of the author Ralph Ellison. "We want to be careful about overdoing all the comparisons to Ellison, though," one Yale professor who includes Whitehead's works on his syllabus has cautioned. "[He] is not a derivative writer."

Praise

"[A] gentle ribbing of all sides of America's peculiar racial tension is central to Whitehead's immense appeal....[H]is warmhearted wit suggests that we finally share enough common understanding to laugh at each other without bitterness or hatred or hard feelings." - Ron Charles 04/29/2009

"SAG HARBOR is Whitehead's most enjoyable book - warm and funny, carefully observed, and beautifully written, studded with small moments of pain and epiphany." - Adam Mansbach 04/26/2009

"[A] funny and touching story..." (starred review) 02/23/2009

"[W]ith the story meandering like a teenager's attention, the book feels more like a memoir than a traditional plot-driven novel....but SAG HARBOR mirrors life, which is also plotless." 05/03/2009

"What's best about SAG HARBOR is the utter and sometimes mortifying accuracy of its descriptive details....[It] isn't about much more than the hilariously trifling intricacies of [the] self-discovery process,....[but when the] book's range encompasses kids, parents, community, tradition and history simultaneously, Mr. Whitehead's recovered memories don't seem so trivial after all." - Janet Maslin 04/27/2009

Product Attributes

Product attributeBook Format:   Paperback
Product attributeNumber of Pages:   0329
Product attributePublisher:   Anchor Books
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