A dazzling literary debut novel-within-a-novel about a young author writing about E. M. Forster’s real-life love affair in which Forster’s forbidden love story collides with his own, blending fact and fiction.
“Greenland is a smart, exhilarating novel about racism and self-knowledge.”—NPR’s Fresh Air
“Greenland is profoundly entertaining and full of emotion, humor, pain, and wisdom. Rather like The Golden Notebook for a new age with race and sexuality replacing gender and class, this is the work of a brilliant, inventive, sensuous dreamer.”—Christopher Bram, author of Gods and Monsters and Lives of the Circus Animals
Kip Starling has locked himself in his Brooklyn basement study with a pistol and twenty-one gallons of Poland Spring. A publisher has given him three weeks to rewrite his book, and he must immerse himself in the mind of Mohammed el Adl, E. M. Forster’s secret lover, who, like Kip, was Black, queer—an other. The similarities don’t end there. Both of their lives have been deeply affected by confrontations with Whiteness, their homosexuality, their upper-crust educations, and their white romantic partners.
The deeper he gets into Mohammed’s head, the more Kip is convinced writing this novel is a calling. But to find Mohammed’s story, he must recall his own. As Kip immerses himself in his writing, Mohammed’s story—and then Mohammed himself—begins to speak to him, and his life becomes a Proustian portal into his own past.
Electric and unforgettable, David Santos Donaldson’s tour de force deftly explores the dream of white assimilation, the foibles of interracial relationships, and the redemptive power of literature.