When people talk about mixed marriages, they don’t usually mean this.
In Twelfth and Race, a new novel by Eric Goodman, Richard Gordon, a middle-class Jewish guy, moves to a small Kansas town and has his identity stolen–credit cards, social security card, everything. Years later, on the border between two urban neighborhoods (hence the title), he meets LaTisha, the mother of a young girl named Jada Gordon: LaTisha is the ex-girlfriend of the man who stole Richard’s wallet, and Jada is the child they had together.
As Richard’s relationship with LaTisha blossoms, he realizes he’s never actually been friends with a black person before. He also confronts some ugly mysteries in his family history, leading him to the true identity of his own birth parents. And when their town is literally set afire with race riots, Richard and LaTisha are thrown into a tumult trying to protect Jada, as well as trying to save their own relationship.
Twelfth is a fascinating new novel about the intersection of neighborhoods, but also of cultures, races–and, above all, of seemingly unconnected people whose lives intersect in unexpected ways.
April 18, 2012