5 debut novelists to watch in early 2019

These impressive first-time authors are already generating a career's worth of literary buzz.

3. We Cast a Shadow by Maurice Carlos Ruffin (Jan. 29)

How far would you go to help your children? Would you consider a procedure that might turn your black son white? That’s what the protagonist in We Cast a Shadow must decide for his biracial son Nigel, a boy with a growing black birthmark. The book is Maurice Carlos Ruffin’s debut novel, winning the William Faulkner–William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition for Novel-in-Progress in 2014 and earning raves from a number of publications, including starred reviews from Booklist and Publishers Weekly.

“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,” writes Renée Graham for  The Boston Globe. “Satire is a shield, and Ruffin is having none of it. Given the frightful state of our nation, there isn’t enough satire in the world to outpace the madness heaped upon us daily.”

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