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With an introduction by the Man Booker Prize-winning author of A Brief History of Seven Killings, Marlon James
'Oreo's satire on racial identity reads like a story for our times . . . Could Oreo be this year's Stoner? Observer
`A rollicking little masterpiece . . . one of the most delightful, hilarious, intelligent novels I've stumbled across in recent years' Paul Auster
Oreo has been raised by her maternal grandparents in Philadelphia. Her black mother tours with a theatrical troupe, and her Jewish deadbeat dad disappeared when she was an infant, leaving behind a mysterious note. Oreo's quest is to find her father, and discover the secret of her birth.
What ensues in Fran Ross's opus is a playful, modernized parody of the classical odyssey of Theseus with a feminist twist, immersed in seventies pop culture, and mixing standard English, black vernacular, and Yiddish with wisecracking aplomb.
Oreo, our young hero, navigates the labyrinth of sound studios and brothels and subway tunnels in Manhattan, seeking to claim her birthright while unwittingly experiencing and triggering a mythic journey of self-discovery like no other.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
Oreo is an overlooked, funny feminist classic following the title heroine as she searches for her father in New York. Add [it] to your holiday reading list immediately. * Stylist * Now published in Britain for first time, Oreo's satire on racial identity reads like a story for our times. "Oreo" is Christine, the daughter of a black mother who leaves home in search of her estranged Jewish father. "Christine is a black woman on a mission to find her whiteness," writes Marlon James in his introduction. Could Oreo be this year's Stoner? * Observer * Boisterous, frisky and dazzlingly clever. An absolute gem -- Megan Bradbury, author of <i>Everyone is Watching</i> Fran Ross' voice and bravado threads this inexhaustibly inventive first novel. The author, who died at age 50 in 1985, didn't release another novel. Still, we can delight in the masterpiece that she created that is just as urgent now as was it was then, if not more so * NY1 * Hilariously offbeat * Essence Magazine * A ground-breaking satire * The Offing * Readers who enjoy play-on-words and post-modern novels will love this book * The Report * Oreo is one of the funniest books I've ever read. To convey Oreo's humor effectively, I would have to use the comedic graphs, menus, and quizzes Ross uses in the novel. So instead, I just settle for, 'You have to read this' -- Mat Johnson, NPR Books With its mix of vernacular dialects, bilingual and ethnic humor, aside jokes, neologisms, verbal quirks, and linguistic oddities, Ross's novel dazzles . . . -- Harryette Mullen The brilliant, hilarious, multilingual, brash, tender, bawdy, and unsentimental voice of Ross's heroine equals the rare and outrageous voice of Ross herself * Women's Review of Books * Oreo sings with linguistic inventiveness, subverting and sidestepping the tropes that would have been expected of an African-American novel of the 1970s. It's also hilarious, Ross seemingly loath to let a paragraph slip by without adding a joke. Oreo marks the emergence of an original and singular voice who, sadly, never wrote another book * Sunday Herald * Funny, brilliant and whip-smart, Oreo is a modern parody of the myth of Theseus in the shape of a memorable self-discovery story filled with 70s pop culture * Elle Magazine * A brilliant and biting satire, a feminist picaresque, absurd, unsettling, and hilarious . . . Ross' novel, with its Joycean language games and keen social critique, is as playful as it is profound. Criminally overlooked. A knockout * Kirkus * Think: Thomas Pynchon meets Don Quixote, mixed with a crack joke crafter. I'm not sure I've ever admired a book's inventiveness and soul more * Chicago Tribune * In an alternative world she should have been one of the great American satirists . . . Ross never came across a subject she wouldn't laugh at . . . hilarious -- Marlon James, BBC Radio 4 Its satire on racial identity reads like a story for our times . . . Could Oreo be this year's Stoner? * Observer * Setting out from her black household in Philadelphia to find her deadbeat Jewish father in New York, Oreo proceeds through one of the funniest journeys ever, amid a whirlwind of wisecracks in a churning mix of Yiddish, black vernacular, and every sort of English * Guardian * Brilliant -- Sam Baker * The Pool * Wild, satirical and pathbreaking . . . flat-out fearless and funny and sexy and sublime . . . a nonstop outbound flight to a certain kind of readerly bliss. It may have been first published more than forty years ago, but its time is now * New York Times * I'm usually very slow to come around to things . . . but I couldn't believe Fran Ross's hilarious 1974 novel Oreo hadn't been on my cultural radar -- Paul Beatty, Man Booker Prize-winning author of <i>The Sellout </i> What a rollicking little masterpiece this book is, truly one of the most delightful, hilarious, intelligent novels I've stumbled across in recent years, a wholly original work . . . I must have laughed out loud a hundred times, and it's a short book, just over 200 pages, which averages out to one booming gut-laugh every other page -- Paul Auster, Man Booker Prize-shortlisted author of <i>4 3 2 1</i>