Made in Detroit
By Paul Clemens
(Anchor, Paperback, 9781400075966, 256pp.)
Publication Date: October 10, 2006
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A New York Times Notable BookA powerfully candid memoir about growing up white in Detroit and the conflicted point of view it produced.
Raised in Detroit during the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s, Paul Clemens saw his family growing steadily isolated from its surroundings: white in a predominately black city, Catholic in an area where churches were closing at a rapid rate, and blue-collar in a steadily declining Rust Belt. As the city continued to collapse—from depopulation, indifference, and the racial antagonism between blacks and whites—Clemens turned to writing and literature as his lifeline, his way of dealing with his contempt for suburban escapees and his frustration with the city proper. Sparing no one—particularly not himself—this is an astonishing examination of race and class relations from a fresh perspective, one forged in a city both desperate and hopeful.
Paul Clemens was born in Detroit and raised on the city's East Side. His work has appeared in the New York Times and the New York Times Magazine. This is his first book.
“Excellent. . . . A funny and moving memoir, it is one of the frankest accounts of race relations in America in recent years.” –The New York Times Book Review“With clarity, courage, and a deep familiarity with his literary predecessors–from James Joyce to James Baldwin–Clemens has written a book as riven, wounded, and yet surprisingly durable as its subject.” –Jeffrey Eugenides, author of Middlesex“Compelling. . . . his relationship to Detroit is rich and complex, brimming with experiences both hurtful and redemptive.” –The Los Angeles Times“Marvelous. . . . Passionate, intelligent.” –Entertainment Weekly