Rosellen Brown's extraordinary new novel, Half a Heart, tells the story of a former civil rights activist, Miriam Vener, who feels trapped in the comfortable white upper-middle-class life she leads with her family in Houston in the 1980's. That life suddenly shatters with the appearance, after almost eighteen years, of Veronica (Ronnee), her biracial daughter, born of Miriam's passionate affair a generation ago with Eljay, a brilliant black professor at a Mississippi college, who has raised the child ever since. When Miriam introduces her daughter to the utterly white New England town where she summers, and to the Houston society which represents the compromise of her sixties ideals, the results are complicated: What claim does Miriam have on Ronnee after all this time, and what does Ronnee want of her mother now?
Ronnee wrestles with her fury at her mother's mysterious disappearance from her life. With which family -- and which race -- does Ronnee identify?
Half a Heart is a profoundly moving story about estrangement and intimacy, race and privilege, identity and belonging.
LisaGay Hamilton wrote and directed the award-winning documentary Beah: A Black Woman Speaks, which chronicles the life of Beah Richards. Ms. Hamilton was a series regular for seven years on the television drama The Practice as Rebecca Washington. Along with Beah Richards, Ms. Hamilton appeared in the movie adaptation of Toni Morrison's novel Beloved. She is a graduate of the Juilliard Drama Division.