Coleman Silk is a light-skinned African American who has been pretending he was white since his 20's. He becomes a professor at a small liberal arts college and moves his way up to the position of Dean of the school. But, he casually makes a comment about absent students being 'spooks' because he has never seen them, but since the students are African American, his comment is misconstrued to be racist. Rather than reveal his secret, he resigns from his post. His reputation continues its downward spiral when he begins an affair with an illiterate woman who is 40 years younger than he is.I enjoyed reading this book, but at the end, I had that uncomfortable feeling that there was some big 'ah ha' message in this story that I completely missed. Beautifully written, but for me, the message was lost.