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Caveman Politics: A novel Hardcover – January 1, 1999
100 (Fiction) Books to Read in a Lifetime
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From the Rodney King beating to the predominance of black inmates on death row, the disparity in the United States between the justice meted out to whites and that dealt to minorities has become headline news. It's also the subject of Jay Atkinson's first novel, Caveman Politics. Atkinson's protagonist, journalist Joe Dolan, plays on the same rugby team as Mike Melendez, a Trinidadian art student. When Mike is accused of raping a white woman, Joe realizes that his teammate's color causes others to presume his guilt. Joe teams up with a black lawyer named Aloysius Timmons to investigate Mike's case. As the title suggests, Joe encounters plenty of unenlightened attitudes along the way, but he meets some complex characters as well, including an African American detective well versed in the writings of Marcus Aurelius and a man battling mental illness. Caveman Politics is more than just a murder mystery; it is an examination of the unspoken assumptions we all have about ourselves, others, and the way the world should be.
From Library Journal
This rewarding first novel is the story of a reluctant hero who may have taken longer than most to grow up but is finally getting there. Reporter Joe Dodge spends his free time playing rugby, boozing with teammates, and pursuing women. "Not giving a shit is my biggest asset," he jokes (but it isn't a joke). When a black teammate, Mike Melendez, is charged with raping a white woman, no one much cares. The police and public are content to let him rot in prison. Though Joe hasn't been friendly with Mike off the playing field, he sets out to help him. Other plot lines weave around this central core, e.g., Joe's growth as a reporter and his discovery of a performer who not only looks and sounds like Elvis but believes he is Elvis. All in all, Atkinson has written a jauntily unpretentious, solidly plotted book that displays good insights into character. Joe is a hero you can care about, and he is surrounded by a cast of often zany but always interesting characters. Highly recommended.?David Keymer, California State Univ., Stanislaus
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
One noticeable hole in the plot (who really dunnit) not significant to the overall story.
As a former journalist, and someone who has played a little rugby, this novel sprang to life for me. As soon as I put it down, I logged on to see if J. Atkinson has had anything else published. I hope we won't have to wait too long for his next work.