Daughters of the Revolution by Carolyn Cooke

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From the O. Henry Award–winning author of the story collection The Bostons—a New York Times Notable Book, Los Angeles Times Book of the Year and winner of the PEN/Robert Bingham Fellowship for Writers—an exquisite first novel set at a disintegrating New England prep school.

It’s 1968. The prestigious but cash-strapped Goode School in the town of Cape Wilde is run by its aging, philandering headmaster, Goddard Byrd, known to both his friends and his enemies as God. With Cape Wilde engulfed by the social and political storms of integration, coeducation and the sexual revolution, God has confidently promised coeducation “over my dead body.” And then, through a clerical error, the Goode School admits its first female student: Carole Faust, a brilliant, intractable fifteen-year-old black girl.

What does it mean to be the First Girl?

Carolyn Cooke has written a ferociously intelligent, richly sensual novel about the lives of girls and women, the complicated desperation of daughters without fathers and the erosion of paternalistic power in an elite New England town on the cusp of radical social change. Remarkable for the precision of its language, the incandescence of its images, and the sly provocations of its moral and emotional predicaments, Daughters of the Revolution is a novel of exceptional force and beauty.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Carolyn Cooke

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Carolyn Cooke's Daughters of the Revolution was listed among the best novels of 2011 by the San Francisco Chronicle and The New Yorker. Her short fiction, collected in The Bostons, won the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award and has appeared in AGNI, The Paris Review and two volumes each of The Best American Short Stories and The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories. She teaches in the MFA writing program at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco.

Author Residence: San Francisco, CA
Published June 7, 2011 by Vintage. 193 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Daughters of the Revolution

Publishers Weekly

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Cooke's flinty first novel, coming nearly 10 years after her much-acclaimed collection, The Bostons, grapples with another set of crafty New Englanders, all involved, one way or another, with the Good

Apr 04 2011 | Read Full Review of Daughters of the Revolution

The New York Times

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In Carolyn Cooke’s first novel, an insular New England prep school is upended in the late 1960s.

Jun 24 2011 | Read Full Review of Daughters of the Revolution

New York Journal of Books

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In her college application essay, Carole Faust, that first female admitted to the Goode School and the child of a single working mother, writes of her experience at Goode: “What I remember is boys everywhere, like big white mice.

Jun 08 2011 | Read Full Review of Daughters of the Revolution


Lil, Mei Mei, and EV all appear to us through a prism of refracting, female light upon the young, black protagonist Carole.

Mar 23 2013 | Read Full Review of Daughters of the Revolution

Washington Independent Review of Books

She is defined, engrossed, and fulfilled by it.” To Mei Mei, it is the grimmest stories that make the most sense.

Jun 22 2011 | Read Full Review of Daughters of the Revolution

Bookmarks Magazine

By jonMon, 05/30/2011 - 20:58.

May 30 2011 | Read Full Review of Daughters of the Revolution

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