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287 pages, Hardcover
First published May 26, 2015
Warren Duffy is having a thirty-something crash. His marriage to a Welsh woman has fallen apart because he's not ready for fatherhood and her clock is ticking, and his "career" as a comic book illustrator and seller has tanked. With nowhere else to go, he ends up in the mansion his father was renovating in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia ... only to find himself suddenly presented with a 17-year-old Jewish daughter (who has darker skin than he's got), and facing a full-blown racial identity crisis.I liked this book all right. But I really wanted to like it better. :-(
In the ghetto there is a mansion, and it is my father's house. It sits on seven acres, surrounded by growling row homes, frozen in an architectural class war. Its expansive lawn is utterly useless, wild like it smokes its own grass and dreams of being a jungle.In a mere 47 words, Johnson introduces many of his themes: father-son relationships and their accompanying expectations; the role of material possessions; racial conflict (although the quote speaks of "class war," the word "ghetto" alerts the reader that the particular war at issue here is one of race); and, most importantly, what it means to belong to a community (including, with its allusion to John 14:2, one based on faith).