Written by Sinclair Lewis. First edition, first printing, 1947. Random House, New York.
"Mr Blingham, and may he fry in his own cooking-oil, was assistant treasurer of the Flaver-Saver Company. He was driving from New York to Winnipeg, accompanied by Mrs. Blingham and their horrible daughter. As they were New Yorkers, only a business trip could have dragged them into this wilderness, and they found everything west of Pennsylvania contemptible. They laughed at Chicago for daring to have skyscrapers and at Madison for pretending to have a university, and they stopped the car and shrieked when they entered Minnesota and saw a billboard advertising "Ten Thousand Lakes."
"Miss Blingham, whom they called "Sister," commented, "Unless you had a New York sense of humor, you would never be able to understand why that sign is so funny!"
The story is of Neil Kingsblood, a white middle-class banker who discovers that he has African ancestry through a black frontiersman. As he reveals his racial identity to his family and friends, he faces discrimination, ostracism and violence from the white community. The novel is a satire of American racism and a critique of the social and economic inequalities between blacks and whites. Lewis wrote the novel with the help of Walter White, the president of the NAACP, and based some of the events on real-life incidents. The novel was praised by some black critics as a courageous and perceptive portrayal of racial issues, but dismissed by some white critics as implausible and sensational.
Sinclair Lewis (1885 - 1951) was an American novelist and social critic who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1930, the first American to receive this honor. Born in Sauk Centre, Minnesota, to a physician father and a homemaker mother, he was a sensitive and lonely child who developed a passion for reading and writing. He graduated from Yale University in 1908 after taking time off to work and travel, and became a successful magazine writer before publishing his first novel, Our Mr. Wrenn, in 1914. He achieved much acclaim with his satirical novels that exposed the flaws and hypocrisies of American society, such as Main Street (1920), Babbitt (1922), Arrowsmith (1925), Elmer Gantry (1927), and It Can't Happen Here (1935).
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Condition: Very Good/Good. Dust jacket: Moderate shelf wear; on the front, small closed tear, upper left, and small closed tear, lower right corner, taped from inside; on the back, scuffing, small closed tear at lower left corner, and small closed tear upper right, taped from inside; chipping at head and tail of spine; small tears top of front flap, creased along back flap. Black and gold-embossed beige cloth cover boards. Top of textblock stained red. Pages: Faint shadows from tape marks on front fly leaf; hinge cracked at title page; light edge tanning; small closed tear at lower left, page 347.
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