Sag Harbor

Sag Harbor From the award winning author of John Henry Days and The Intuitionist a tender hilarious and supremely original novel about coming of age in the s Benji Cooper is one of the few black students at

  • Title: Sag Harbor
  • Author: Colson Whitehead
  • ISBN: 9780307455161
  • Page: 334
  • Format: Paperback
  • From the award winning author of John Henry Days and The Intuitionist a tender, hilarious, and supremely original novel about coming of age in the 80s Benji Cooper is one of the few black students at an elite prep school in Manhattan But every summer, Benji escapes to the Hamptons, to Sag Harbor, where a small community of African American professionals have built a worFrom the award winning author of John Henry Days and The Intuitionist a tender, hilarious, and supremely original novel about coming of age in the 80s Benji Cooper is one of the few black students at an elite prep school in Manhattan But every summer, Benji escapes to the Hamptons, to Sag Harbor, where a small community of African American professionals have built a world of their own The summer of 85 won t be without its usual trials and tribulations, of course There will be complicated new handshakes to fumble through and state of the art profanity to master Benji will be tested by contests big and small, by his misshapen haircut which seems to have a will of its own , by the New Coke Tragedy, and by his secret Lite FM addiction But maybe, just maybe, this summer might be one for the ages.

    One thought on “Sag Harbor”

    1. This was the perfect book to read in late summer, as well as a nice introduction to the writing of Colson Whitehead. It’s more like a 4.5 star book, but I’m rounding up because the writing is so good and the author captures this era so effectively. I’m definitely going to read more by him.It’s the summer of 1985 and 15-year-old Benji is, as usual, at his family’s place on the eponymous Sag Harbor, a small village in the Hamptons populated during the season by upper-middle class, profes [...]

    2. A sentimental tale of growing up through the lens of a set of black middle-class teenagers at liberty for their summers on Long Island. There is a timeless quality and sense of innocence in this exploration of juvenile adventure and search for identity. The relatively segregated community of wealthy professionals is free from the racism and pressures to succeed they face in their private schools in New York City. Benji and his brother are trusted to fend for themselves during the weekdays when t [...]

    3. The first time I read this book shortly after publication in 2009 I didn’t like anything about it. I didn’t understand Whitehead’s air of casual privilege. I reread it at the end of 2017 because a review by Brandon Harris in theNew York Review of Books (Dec 7, 2017) about James McBride’s new collection of short stories, Five-Carat Soul, mentions Sag Harbor as “ravishing.” What did I miss?The short answer is that I missed everything. But without going back to interrogate that 9-year-a [...]

    4. It's been a couple years since I read this, but this book still brings back memories every time I see it, and I felt it was time to come back and give it a proper review.Since I was 3 years old, my family has owned a cottage on Lake Erie, in a resort community near Cedar Point. We stay there every summer for at least one full week, plus a dozen weekends, and are always joined by a bounty of friends and family. It has always been a place I will treasure, and holds many fond memories. Of all the b [...]

    5. Remember that guy from high school? You know the one: smart as a whip, and funny too. Handsome, nice smile. Maybe he was on the basketball team or something. Let's call him Mike. Mike's teachers used to say he was "going places." And how could he not be? He was enrolled in all the right AP classes, and he was entirely agreeable. Always knew exactly the right thing to say, that Mike. He wasn't really sure what he wanted to do with his life, but that was okay. It's okay not to know in the beginnin [...]

    6. Colson Whitehead is a wonderful writer. Although I wasn't a Sag Harbor summer kid myself, the author and I are about the same age so much of his reminiscing about his experiences as a 15 year old stirred similar memories I possess. Sag Harbor is a work of fiction, not a memoir, but it reads as much like the latter than as a novel, and no doubt it was largely inspired by the author's youthful days. Not a whole lot happens in Sag Harbor, basically a group of teenagers kill the abundance of time th [...]

    7. I'm glad I read this book in the dead of winter - it is so evocative of the atmosphere of a little beach town and of a kid's experience of coming of age during the long, restless and wondrous days of summer. Though the novel focuses primarily on Benji's coming of age in an upper middle class African American community, so many of his experiences and the themes in the book cross race lines, and Whitehead makes Benji's experiences feel almost universal. This novel presents the complex and delicate [...]

    8. I'd be the first acknowledge that Colson Whitehead's style is a tough sell for most readers. He's got a detatched, wordy aloofness, and a meandering stream-of-conscious quality that might alienate some, bore others. I contend, though, he's certainly worth reading if you're like me and appreciate authors in love with the English language. He completely wowed me with 2011's Zombie-story-for-people-that-don't-like-zombie-stories: Zone One. Mr. Whitehead's meandering iciness contributed wonderfully [...]

    9. I was going to give this book 3 stars because there are parts I liked and parts that were only ok, so it seemed to average out to 3 stars. But in the last 10 pages there is a reflection on growing up that was so well done that it pulled me to 4 stars. Overall, this is good read about being a teenager, trying to find your place in the world and understanding how things work. This theme was made more compelling by the narrator's specific circumstances, i.e. as a middle class African American spend [...]

    10. This book is… unexpected. When I began it, I thought it was a traditional coming of age story; there would be a challenge, a test of some sort, that the main character would have to get through in order to have grown into a new person by the end of the summer. But that’s not what this book is. It is simply a novel that recounts the summer of a teenage boy. It’s warm, sweet, at times a little sad but mostly as carefree as summer nights are.Of course it is about Sag Harbor, the Hamptons for [...]

    11. This coming-of-age novel takes place in 1985. Last summer I read another, Black Swan Green by David Mitchell, which also takes place in the 80s. Now that I think of it, I read another the summer before: How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran. There are similarities between them but differences that set each apart. Have writers who were teens in the 90s and 2000s written any coming-of-age novels? I'm curious if the same similarities of style, obsessions, nostalgia, and pop culture references bind t [...]

    12. For all those who thought – like me – that the Hamptons was simply the summer playground for the rich and beautiful, Sag Harbor, by Colson Whitehead may come as a surprise. It seems that upper-middle class African-Americans have owned summer homes there since the 1940s. And in 1985 15-year-old Benji summered there for his 15th year. Only for the first time he’s pretty much on his own since his parents have decided that he and his younger brother are old enough to hold down the home front, [...]

    13. Dag I really liked this hyperrealistic hybrid between autobiography and fiction (from its internal consistency and from the author's Acknowledgements, it seems likely that much of the background and many of the events were drawn from his own growing up). It begins at the intersection of two alien worlds—alien to me, anyway. The first: growing up black in America. The second: growing up wealthy—or affluent, well-to-do, at worst upper middle-class definitions differ, but families who live in N [...]

    14. In parts this is well written, but somewhere around the middle I was bored. And, I stayed bored until about twenty five pages from the end. When the writing was good, it was worth reading, but I didn't find his story overly compelling.

    15. Colson Whitehead's coming-of-age novel "Sag Harbor" defies the conventional definition of novel in that it doesn't have one of those pesky plots weighing it down. This is something a reader should understand before reading to avoid all sorts of failed Aha! moments: Nope. This isn't going to be about an 80s child, fatally wounded in a BB gun fight. Nope. This isn't going to be about coveting thy friend's summer girlfriend. Whitehead admits this himself in his video pitch: "There's no dead body," [...]

    16. This is the book for people who want to say they read Colson Whitehead but don't want to read anything difficult or experimental. This book is recalls in excruciating adolescent detail, the summertime lives of a group of high school aged African American middle class boys. And I do mean rendered in excruciating detail. Sag Harbor is getting great press, probably because there are still folks who are surprised to learn that there are middle class black people who summer in the Hamptons, too. The [...]

    17. I guess I just don't mesh well with this author's writings. It feels like he uses every literary device and multi-syllabled word in every single sentence. It just doesn't work, especially when the narrator is supposed to be a teenager.

    18. Looking forward to reading Glen's review --(he JUST read it) I read this book a long time ago --when on a retreat vacation in the mountains. Wonderful!

    19. When you pick up most writers, you know know exactly what you're going to get -- Tolstoy reads like Tolstoy, "Faulknerian" is an adjective for a reason, Rushdie's novels all share similarities (other than the fact that the most recent ones all suck), and De Lillo has such a strong style that he now borders on self-parody.Which is what makes Colson Whitehead perhaps the most impressive author writing today. Not only are every one of his books equally fantastic, but each novel bears almost no styl [...]

    20. This book captivated me completely, forcing involuntary and often embarrassingly loud bursts of laughter out of me in inappropriate places across the NY tri-state area, my shame mitigated by the anticipation of yet another entertaining passage. The novel follows Whitehead as he fondly remembers blissfully long summers-surprisingly bereft of parental supervision-at his family's beach house in Long Island, drinking Coke, eating Swanson TV dinners, and swigging Bartles & Jaymes, relics of the n [...]

    21. No one writes with more acrobatic imagination and good humor about the complexities of race in America than Colson Whitehead. In "The Intuitionist" and "John Henry Days," he evoked the nation's racial history as deftly as he created bizarre alternatives. And in his 2003 paean to his home town, "The Colossus of New York," he captured the choreography of a vibrant, multicultural city. Now he surprises us again with a charming autobiographical novel that comes honey-glazed with nostalgia. Detailing [...]

    22. At one point in American author Colson Whitehead's fourth novel, the 15-year-old protagonist Benji succinctly sums up the strangeness of his social circle: "According to the world, we were the definition of paradox: black boys with beach houses."The year is 1985, more than two decades before the Obamas would step into the White House as America's First Family. Then, as now, spending summer vacations in your family's beach house on Long Island was something strongly associated with WASPs (White A [...]

    23. I first head of Colson Whitehead when he was interviewed on "Fresh Air" to promote "The Noble Hustle." He opened with "I have a good poker face, because I'm half dead inside." That got my attention, and after listening to the interview, I was so intrigued by his unique perspective on things, I read "The Noble Hustle," and loved it. It was funny, and I couldn't get enough of Whitehead's musings on life in the Republic of Anhedonia. I decided to read another one of his books, and I've found "Sag H [...]

    24. I am not as big a fan of speculative/alternate reality stuff as some of my nearest and dearest though I did quite like the Intuitionist. However a straight piece of fiction by Whitehead seemed just the ticket.And at first I was way down with this book. Loved the early-80s hip-hop nostalgia, beach town, gangs of boy friends, middle-class talented-tenth black folks, etc. And then it got to be too much. Too memoiry, too detailed. It was sort of like hanging out with that group of boys who constantl [...]

    25. Sag Harbor is Whitehead’s fourth novel and not his best, though it does have its moments and displays his elegant prose style throughout. A coming of age tale, Sag Harbor is set in 1980s when the book’s narrator, Benjie Cooper and his family spend their summers in this Long Island beach community, escaping Manhattan’s sultry, oppressive weather. Azurest is part of an African-American enclave in Sag Harbor, middle class but apart still. Whitehead’s protagonist is just an ordinary teen gro [...]

    26. A different take on the "coming-of-age" genre. The story begins with Benji (the protagonist) and his brother Reggie heading to the family beach-house in Sag Harbor. Sag Harbor is a part of the Hamptons that had been colonized in the late 50's and 60's by black professionals as their own little slice of Paradise. In the past the two brothers have been linked almost inseparably by the hip which Benji believes may cause some serious lacking in the coolness department this summer. Left to their own [...]

    27. Dear @colsonwhitehead,I’m sorry for doubting you. I was going to write this apology/review in a series of 140 character paragraphs (ala tweet) but that’s too much of a pain in the ass and would do your beautiful book, Sag Harbor, a great disservice. It deserves better.I’m sorry for wondering about the story-ness of your story. I was getting scared. From the beginning you set up a certain kind of story, the summer Benji and Reggie went to Sag Harbor and were the kids in the empty house, out [...]

    28. The love child of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Holden Caulfield, but funnier. The book is essentially a plotless stream of descriptive memories, and sometimes THE AUTHOR VOICE got a little over-the-top (paen to the waffle cone could have been edited down a bit), but Whitehead is a beautiful writer and his characters have real voice. Dag, I was charmed.

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