Pittsburgh, 1995. Twenty-two year old Bobby Saraceno is a biracial black man, passing for white. Bobby has hidden his identity from everyone, even his best friend and fellow comic-book geek, Aaron, who has just returned from prison a newly radicalized white supremacist.
During the night of their reunion, Bobby witnesses Aaron mercilessly assault a young black man with a brick. In the wake of this horrifying act of violence, Bobby must conceal his unwitting involvement in the crime from the police, as well as battle with his own personal demons. A harrowing story about racism and brutality that is more urgent now than ever.
Firstly, Three-Fifths is a must read, it’s a timely tale of race, identity and fear.
Bobby is a young man who works hard in a restaurant, bussing tables to help his alcoholic mother meet the rent payments on time. He is biracial with pale skin, so everyone treats him as a white man……he doesn’t put them right as he knows he would be treated very differently.
His best friend Aaron has just been released from prison, he’s now covered in tattoos, a swastika and cobwebs and is a member of the brotherhood, a white supremacist…..
When Aaron sees a couple of young black men, a confrontation takes place, ending with Aaron beating one of them in the face with a brick…..Bobby, in shock and terror, drives Aaron away from the scene.
When his mother, Isobel tells him the truth about his father Robert, Bobby is at odds with himself….he has decisions to make.
What follows is a mix of crime fiction and a heartbreaking tale of Bobby’s life and fears. It also tells of the inherent racism in society, from the police, the white supremacists and gang culture to the everyday casual racism people of colour experience every single day……
John Vercher has written an honest, thought provoking and absolutely heartbreaking story that’s a read in one sitting book…..I literally couldn’t put it down and was left in tears more than once. Eye opening and a must read.
Thank you to Poppy at Pushkin Press for my copy of Three-Fifths. This is my honest and unbiased review.
Three-Fifths is available from Pushkin Press from October 2020…..PREORDER it now: https://amzn.to/2ZHwRP6
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John Vercher is a writer currently living in the Philadelphia area with his wife and two sons. He holds a Bachelors in English from the University of Pittsburgh and an MFA in Creative Writing from the Mountainview Master Of Fine Arts program.
His fiction has appeared on Akashic Books’ Monday’s are Murder and Fri-Sci-Fi and he is a contributing writer for Cognoscenti, the thoughts and opinion page of WBUR Boston. Two of his essays published there on race, identity and parenting were picked up by NPR, and he has appeared on WBUR’s Weekend Edition. His non-fiction has also appeared in Entropy Magazine.