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Maurice Carlos Ruffin Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

We Cast a Shadow (2019) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Maurice Carlos Ruffin is an American author of fiction books. He’s a winner of The William Faulkner -William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition for a novel in progress and also The Lowa Review Award. He was born and raised in the New Orleans and attended the University of New Orleans creative writing workshop. Ruffin is a member of The Peauxdunque Writer’s Alliance.

The author has made contributions in The AGNI, The Virginia Quarterly Review, The Massachusetts Review, The Kenyon Review, and The Unfathomable City. He has authored We Cast A Shadow and also contributed to other books such as The Mojo Rising and New Orleans Noir; The Classics.
We Cast a Shadow

We Cast a Shadow is a debut by the Lowa Review Award-winning author, Maurice Carlos Ruffin. The book is about the struggles that father goes through as he tries to protect his child.

Living in a society that is overly racist, a father has to take difficult decision to protect his son. Nigel is a biracial boy with a black birthmark that is enlarging day by day. They live in a society that is rampant with racial segregation and an increasing number of private prison narrowing the chances of Nigel living peacefully. He has watched the evil in the same society rob him of his father, and he is not ready to let history repeat itself when it comes to his son.
A recent scientific invention capable of turning black people white is the only through which he can save Nigel. The cost of the operation is huge and the only way to have it done successfully is through is making partnership at his law firm and participate in their activities which include holding numerous equality rallies, plantation tours and join activists group so that he can protect his son. Desperation drives the narrator to go to the extent that he never thought he could for his son since watching his father taken away from him was traumatizing enough.

Living at the time of the narrator means trying to appease the white as they are considered superior and mercilessly oppress the blacks considered out of place and inferior. Driven by the same motive, the father will try his best even if he acts stupid to protect his son. The society is divided according to the same parameters of racism, police brutalism, making many people try out options that will shed the black skin. Life for the blacks is hectic and prospering is only by chance.

The narrator has his own demons that he is battling with making him play dangerous cards that could see him not only lose his son but all that he has acquired over time. Succeeding in the society for the ’inferior’ side means going against principles of self-worth as seen from the start of the narration.

They are considered worthless and forced to do things that are against the basic human treatments irrespective of the positions that they hold in the society. Being humiliated deliberately is a common thing for these people as sometimes it is the only way through which they can survive and prosper.

Nigel is an innocent boy, and his father is prepared to do whatever it takes forcing the father to live a life that is peaceless as he jangles with two sides of the society. One side, he is trying to please the black by joining in their activist’s rallies so that he is not considered a deserter while on the other hand, he denounces the same course to have his son kept away from the pains and pangs of racism. He is hypocritical and hides in the efforts being made by the others towards liberation from the condition that has faced the society. The book embraces some extent of satire seen with the narrator encouraging others to wholeheartedly embrace their culture irrespective of how they are viewed yet does not do the same.

Parenting during this time is one of the hardest things as any parent would want their children to have the best but ensuring history is not repeated is not a simple task. Teaching their children which side and values to follow is next to impossible as each party stands for they believe is right, yet they would want them to live safe. It becomes hard for them not to follow their paths and instead concentrate on building careers for themselves and their future generations. Though it is written from a personal level, it has a lot to offer since it represents a considerable part of the community.

The aspect of being black is a representation of simple things that face the society and instead of being peacefully solved are worked against creating a continuous and an ever-growing antagonism. The effects of racism have far much-reaching consequences devastating people and making them go to extents that are overly uncomfortable. Decisions taken by people to protect their own desires are not pleasing though have to be considered as they are tired of living the way they do- basing their worth on skin color.

It is funny how the narrator is angry with the condition present yet tries to make his child fit into the same instead of correcting the mess. Betrayal is very evident as some pretend to be working on the same course of liberation while still having one eye on that end that is considered superior. Decisions are taken, but consequences always follow, and people have to live with what they chose.

Maurice Carlos Ruffin has a lot to teach in the book that is sometimes neglected yet end up creating extensive damages to people. It is a book that is designed as mirror trying to focus on both sides leaving the reader to judge and also learn from each valuable thing that are barely discussed. The author employs satire in the book and humor though planting valuable lessons on coexisting in differences. Reading the piece makes you have a whole new perspective and influences decision making to ensure that one can see something through the eyes of another.

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