In this near-future Southern city plagued by fenced-in ghettos and police violence, more and more residents are turning to this experimental medical procedure. Like any father, our narrator just wants the best for his son, Nigel, a biracial boy whose black birthmark is getting bigger by the day. How far will he go to protect his son?
Calling Maurice Carlos Ruffin’s We Cast a Shadow a satire seems less an accurate description than an effort to cushion the blows this novel lands with lethal precision ... Given the frightful state of our nation, there isn’t enough satire in the world to outpace the madness heaped upon us daily. This is to Ruffin’s benefit. He can drive his story to the outer limits and beyond, and never lose the threads of bitter reality that make it so haunting. We Cast a Shadow soars on Ruffin’s unerring vision.
We Cast a Shadow, Maurice Carlos Ruffin’s debut novel, asks some of the most important questions fiction can ask, and it does so with energetic and acrobatic prose, hilarious wordplay and great heart ... At any moment, Ruffin can summon the kind of magic that makes you want to slow down, reread and experience the pleasure of him crystallizing an image again. The narrator’s intellectual style also allows for a lot of sentence-level fun ... The fluidity of the narrator’s mind keeps us on our toes; we race to keep up with him as his thoughts wind and bend across the pages ... We Cast a Shadow churns fresh beauty from old ugliness ... Read this book, and ask yourself: Is this the world you want?
... stunning and audacious ... [The books is] at once a pitch-black comedy, a chilling horror story and an endlessly perceptive novel about the possible future of race in America ... There's a lot going on in We Cast a Shadow, but Ruffin proves to be a master at juggling the numerous characters and storylines. It's a fast-paced and intricately plotted book, but not one that's solely reliant on its many plot twists — the real draw of the novel is Ruffin's gift at creating unforgettable characters ... Perhaps Ruffin's greatest accomplishment is the world he's built in his novel — one that's alarmingly close to the America of today ... There's no doubt that We Cast a Shadow, with its sobering look at race in America, can be difficult to read, but it's more than worth it. It's a razor-sharp debut from an urgent new voice in fiction, and a warning about what the future could hold for America and for the world.