Maurice Carlos Ruffin weaves many threads, from the fragile complexity of a father-son relationship to a person's capacity for change. The world Ruffin creates is semi-satirically extreme, yet there is an air of plausibility that is unsettling. What is the result of fear, power and discrimination left unchecked? And where is the line between protecting your own and subjecting them to the very prejudice that has ruled your world?
Heart-wrenching and morally ambiguous, "We Cast a Shadow" explores questions of justice and self-actualization. Life's fulfillment may only seem within reach when cultural assimilation to the most extreme degree takes place. But what is the price that is paid? The moral high ground in such a society is reserved for those who haven't faced discrimination themselves, from the narrator's perspective.
Unapologetic in his ability to make the reader uncomfortable, "We Cast a Shadow" is a challenging, thought-provoking debut by Ruffin.