Where Did You Sleep Last Night? A Personal History


When Danzy Senna’s parents married in 1968, they seemed poised to defy history: two beautiful American writers from wildly divergent backgrounds – a white woman with a blue-blood Bostonian lineage and a black man, the son of a single mother and an unknown father. When their marriage disintegrated eight years later, one family friend called it “the ugliest divorce in Boston’s history.” Decades later, Senna looks back not only at her parents’ divorce, but at the histories they tried so hard to overcome. In the tradition of James McBride’s The Color of Water, Where Did You Sleep Last Night? is a “stunningly rendered personal heritage that mirrors the complexities of race, class and ethnicity in the United States” (Booklist).

“With deft, heartbreaking restraint, Danzy Senna sets down the first telling of a moment in American history and a very human story of romance and idealism: the marriage in 1968 of two writers – a white Boston Brahmin, her mother, and her African American father…Out of this collision was born a third writer. Out of its agonies, this illuminating, necessary book."

- Honor Moore, author of The Bishop's Daughter

“Part personal history, part detective yarn, this is a melancholy story of unlocking the present with the hidden keys of the past, and of a daughter trying to find resolution with the father she both reveres and fears.”

- The Boston Globe

“This book is a great gift. Read it.”

- Rebecca Walker, author of Black, White, and Jewish: Autobiography of a Shifting Self