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New England White (Vintage Contemporaries) Paperback – May 27, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed this book. It was the type mystery that kept you guessing and asking what's coming next. I loved the fact that some of the characters from "Emperor" were in the... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Somehow, being an academic legal scholar and a writer of fiction, seem incompatible. But Stephen Carter pulls it off. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Robert W. Brown
If you loved or even liked The Emperor of Ocean Park, you will be disappointed in this one.Published 6 months ago by doclmd
This was the first book I have read by Stephen L. Carter - it was very well-written and often kept me up evenings reading later than I should. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Leo Bova
Amazing Carter's beginnings are can be confusing, but that is what pulls you in. The next thing you know you up all night and missing meals!!!!Published 9 months ago by Robyn Lolita Richardson
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 morePublished 14 months ago by Carlos A. Simmons
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 morePublished 14 months ago by Trevora Montieth