Out of this history she made a literature, a shelf of books that-for as long as they are read-will serve to remind America that its story about itself was always partial and self-deceiving. And here, for many people, we reach an impasse: a dead end. If race is a construct, whither blackness? If whiteness is an illusion, on what else can a poor man without prospects pride himself? I think a lot of people’s brains actually break at this point. But Morrison had a bigger brain.

Recitatif, Zadie Smith –