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New England White [Kindle Edition]

Stephen L. Carter
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.95
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $5.96 (37%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Lemaster Carlyle, the president of the country's most prestigious university, and his wife, Julie, the divinity school's deputy dean, are America's most prominent and powerful African American couple. Driving home through a swirling blizzard late one night, the couple skids off the road. Near the sight of their accident they discover a dead body. To her horror, Julia recognizes the body as a prominent academic and one of her former lovers. In the wake of the death, the icy veneer of their town Elm Harbor, a place Julie calls "the heart of whiteness," begins to crack, having devastating consequences for a prominent local family and sending shock waves all the way to the White House.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Two lesser characters from Yale law professor Carter's bestselling first novel, The Emperor of Ocean Park (2002)—husband and wife Lemaster and Julia Carlyle—take center stage in his second, a compelling, literate page-turner that effortlessly blends a gripping whodunit with complex discussions of politics and race in contemporary America. Lemaster, one of the country's most influential African-Americans, has recently begun his tenure as president of a prestigious New England university. As he and Julia, who serves as a dean in the university's divinity school, drive home one snowy night, they happen upon the corpse of Professor Kellen Zant, a brilliant economist as well as Julia's former lover. The murder threatens to shatter not only the Carlyles' marriage but also the fragile psyche of their precocious but troubled daughter, Vanessa—and may affect the upcoming, bitterly contested race for the White House. Julia proves an unlikely but dogged investigator, who looks beyond the official verdict that Zant was killed in a chance encounter with a robber. In the richness of his characters, both major and minor, and the intelligence of his writing, Carter rivals Scott Turow. Expect another bestseller. 300,000 first printing; author tour. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Featuring the setting and two minor characters from his best-selling debut novel, The Emperor of Ocean Park, Stephen L. Carter has crafted a literary thriller peppered with shrewd observations about wealth, power, race, culture, and politics. Several critics were disappointed with the murder mystery, citing a melodramatic plot with too many characters. However, the Washington Post declared, "Let's be honest: No one should read a Carter novel for the mystery." Indeed, Carter's astute dissection of the upper-class black milieu and his scathing portrait of the subtly racist community surrounding the university shine brightest, offering a compelling exploration of ethics and power. Fans of his first novel will certainly welcome his second.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 494 KB
  • Print Length: 738 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0099437465
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1st edition (June 26, 2007)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000SCHC42
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #236,469 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
75 of 80 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's a Great Story, But....... July 6, 2007
By J. Belt
After Emperor of Ocean Park, I could hardly wait for a second book from Stephen Carter. I even emailed him once to find why it was taking so long (no, he didn't respond) and so when I found out his new book was coming out last week, I rushed to my local bookstore (coupons in hand) and started reading. Once again, Carter has delivered an intriguing mystery while providing juicy tidbits about life in the rarified atmosphere of rich black intellectuals.

However, as much as I loved reading all 556 pages (whew!), I found that about halfway through the book, I started getting lost in all the details. There is just so much information he includes that after a while they start to detract from the story. More than once I thought "And who is this again?" Not that any of that stopped me from reading, it's that with so many characters, so many events, so much repetition, I was relieved to finally get to the big reveal. Yes, it was worth it find out whodunnit and why, but there is another message Carter delivers that members of both the darker nation and the paler nation will likely find themselves admitting, even if to no one other than to themselves.

My favorite scene in the book? When Julia finds herself in an unfamiliar neighborhood, knocking on doors and understanding that it's race, not money/class/privilege that people see first. And that truth is not lost on her.
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81 of 90 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating plot, but..... July 9, 2007
Does Knopf still employ editors? This book has a fascinating plot, but following it is like trying to find a jewel amid waist-deep weeds. There are just too many irrelevant characters, pointless digressions and tiresome, unnecessary details. At 556 pages, this book is about 200 pages too long, and slogging through it becomes a chore. Yes, Mr. Carter displays many wonderful turns of phrase, and yes, savoring a literate work by a black author who knows the racial score is very satisfying, but the knowledgeable reader must fight the urge to shout "For God's sake, man, get on with it!" The premise of this book is unique and brilliant; the execution, however, falls short.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Compelling Characters, but... July 23, 2007
The characters in this book were very compelling, especially Julia Carlyle, the wife of the university president, and her daughter. Mrs. Carlyle is an elitist African American raised at Dartmouth College and now an assistant dean at an Ivy League divinity school. As she works to uncover what is behind the murder of an ex-lover, she learns - for lack of a better term - how the other half lives. In her world, things get done because of who she is and to whom she is married - someone bothers her and he loses her job; she is an assistant dean without getting a degree - in her stratus it is who you are that matters. That group of "who you are" clashes with the more typically portrayed white privileged class which sets up the mystery portion of the book.

The book is a mystery only secondary to the exploration of the class strata among African Americans and how that compares and mirrors the white classes. The mystery is one for which Oliver Stone would be proud. It is conspiracy upon conspiracy upon complicity mixed with antagonism among whites and blacks and blacks and blacks. The black elite strata is manifested in elite clubs who pull strings behind the scenes in our society. Mr. Carter disavows the existence of such clubs in an afterword.

The characters truly carry this book, because it is s-l-o-o-o-w. I kept waiting for it to heat up; after all there are murders, conspiracies and intrigue, but somehow all of that was overcome and the pace remained slow throughout.

This is an intriguing look at American society from an elite black's view, which is a rare one to see and experience. Unfortunately, the slow pace detracted from the work.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ludicrous conspiracy theory, anti-women August 30, 2007
Seldom have I been more disappointed by a book than I was by New England White (NEW), as I enjoyed and felt enlightened by his first book, The Emperor of Ocean Park.

I agree with the other reviewers who commented on the book's unpruned state. Carter isn't creating red herrings or phosophical asides with his over-writing, he's indulging in the sound of his own voice. But that does fit with the character of his male lead, one of the most chauvinistic and overbearing characters to be found in modern fiction. His wife, the heroine, knows she's being demeaned, but does almost nothing to help herself or her children, despite the words of the narrator in claiming she reaches a transcendent state: she's even supposed to be grateful that her husband hired a secret bodyguard for her as he knew she was going to be in life-threatening situations because of his own actions.

As for the plot, not even Robert Ludlum at his most ludicrous ever devised a more complicated and impossible set-up. As with most conspiracy theories, the silence and obedience of literally hundreds of people has to be secured to make the conspiracy work. Sorry, folks, but humans just don't act that way.

I guess the writing was good. And the on-going commentary on US race relations offered some insights, but generally of the sort already known by any well-read reader who has not limited his or her reading by race.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The great, new england white
Gripping, suspenseful, a page turner. Struggled to put the book down. Very enjoyable read for me. Good story line with less tangents than the first novel. Read more
Published 17 days ago by Carlos A. Simmons
4.0 out of 5 stars Review of New England White
In searching around for an intricate mystery, I found this one. I had read The Emperor of Ocean Park years ago and remembered how Carter could pen a tale. Read more
Published 23 days ago by Trevora Montieth
5.0 out of 5 stars This was a really good read and second book that I've read by Mr ...
This was a really good read and second book that I've read by Mr Carter. Looking forward to reading more of his work.
Published 1 month ago by B. Gardner
3.0 out of 5 stars The darker nation?? Give me a break!
I enjoyed reading New England White, however it was extremely long and at times laborious with unnecessary description. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Iris Stanley
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read!!
This is the 2nd Stephen Carter novel I've read, and I truly enjoyed it. Unlike Palace Council, the story here gets right into the action and doesn't drag along too often. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Crystal Fisher
3.0 out of 5 stars Good story, until predictable exagerrated ending
Good story telling, just could not close the story in a believable manner, Read it but don't read to the end, it will disapoint
Published 18 months ago by James Adolph OLiver
5.0 out of 5 stars Valuable Reference Work
Many prior reviews found this work too long, with too many characters. This was my first reaction since I was expecting a murder mystery. Read more
Published 20 months ago by M. H. W.
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and convoluted
Having read the third book first and then the first, I found this one not nearly as concise and strongly written. Read more
Published 21 months ago by P. Block
5.0 out of 5 stars Love the way Carter writes
My first encounter with Stehpehen Carter's fiction was in 2003 as a teenager.
It took me a week and a half but I thumbed my way through "The Emperor of Ocean Park," a superb... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Greenwood
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Follow-up to The Emperor of Ocean Park
I took a chance on Stephen Carter when I found a buy two get one free in a chain bookstore. While his first book was filled with excessive cultural explanations that slowed the... Read more
Published on September 28, 2012 by Tom G
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