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The Emperor of Ocean Park Paperback – May 27, 2003
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Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
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Clocking in at over 650 pages, the novel could easily have been streamlined; many of Talcott's thoughts are unnecessarily repeated. But Carter's storytelling skills are adept: tension builds, surprises are genuine, clues are not handed out freely. The prose, while somewhat meandering, can be crisp and insightful, as demonstrated in Carter's description of the misguided paths of young attorneys who sacrifice
all on the altar of career... at last arriving... at their cherished career goals, partnerships, professorships, judgeships, whatever kind of ships they dream of sailing, and then looking around at the angry, empty waters and realizing that they have arrived with nothing, absolutely nothing, and wondering what to do with the rest of their wretched lives.--Michael Ferch --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
(2) A crucial character who is set-up to be intriguing turns out to have no impact on the plot at all
(3) A big secret you were waiting for...is never revealed
(4) Most of the characters are extremely self-absorbed
(5) For a book that supposedly relates the experiences an unfamiliar world. I found very little that could be called insightful or even fresh.
(6)There's a couple of nice passages that made me say "right on!" But not enough.
(7) Sub-plots introduced early in the book have very abrupt endings midway through...muting their impact or cause you to wonder why it wasn't edited out.
(8) At close to 700 pages the pacing was very inconsistent: at times I coudn't put it down, but more often I felt anchored in one spot for 50 to 100 pages at a time.
(9) The tone was unremittingly downbeat.
Carter's style might be better suited to writing non-fiction than fiction. The book bills itself as a thriller, yet lacks the pace needed to sustain a good thriller. Of course, there's more to this book than the solving of a mystery, for the questions to be answered are woven into an examination of the deceased Judge Oliver Garland's character, politics, and familial role as well as an exploration of love, fidelity, loyalty - all issues of life beyond the solving of a mystery. Maybe that's the problem - Carter bites off so much, that it takes him over 650 pages to digest it all, and ultimately leaves the reader with the feeling of indigestion one gets from overindulging at a buffet rather than with the satiety of having enjoyed a fine meal. There's enough material for two novels - one a mystery, one a character (or issue) analysis. Each character has his own agenda: Older son Addison is the most detached from the family crisis, although he actually knows more than his siblings. Mariah, mother of 5 (to become 6 in the course of the book) has such comforts in her affluent life that she is left with no reponsibilities, a condition which unleashes her active imagination in seeking the answer to the family mystery. Younger son Talcott narrates. He is a complex character with personal issues that sometimes hinder his search. Are we following his relationship with his deceased father, who he refers to formally as "The Judge," or is it his splintering relationship with wife Kimmer, a candidate for a Court of Appeals judgeship?Read more ›
Every paragraph in his torturous and tortuous first novel is a rumination on or digression from the one before--physicists need look no further to discover the universe's longest distance between two points. In one spot, nearly three pages go by between the first and second rings of a phone. In another, one sentence is 25 lines long. The author must've made a deal with Knopf to be paid by the syllable (about three for a dollar if the reported amount of his advance is correct).
Story-wise, Carter has written a good 350-page yarn that takes him 650 pages to tell. A more apt title might've been Jerk Like Me since none of the characters is a bit likeable. As he takes three pages in an afterword to point out, they and the locations are fictional. It's a great relief to know that he himself is not the whiny, racist, snotty, law-professor second son of the title's deceased patriarch, who is still despotic despite being dead.
I have never written a novel--it seems so much easier to get one from Amazon. But if I did, I'm sure I would be infected with the same "first-novelitis" that befell Carter, the need to shoehorn into the tome every arcane bit of minutia, insightful observation and belabored turn of phrase I'd ever encountered in my life until then (I am the anti-Proust). If that's all out his system now, Carter's second novel could be a true masterpiece.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Would not recommend this book. Although the story was interesting, the author repeated the same themes over and over and didn't move the story forward at a reasonable pace. Read morePublished 1 month ago
I didn't care how it ended and put it down about 20% of the way through.Published 1 month ago by Juliet Patrick
A little long with a lot of descriptions. Story was good and the ending was surprising. A very good read! I will read more of this author,s books.Published 2 months ago by Pat Jones
There was an unusual slant to this book. The author kept the reader clear on the characters. I think he did use too many words.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
See the rest of my reviews at The Navi Review! [...] and follow the blog on Twitter to get all the latest reviews first! Read morePublished 4 months ago by Navidad Thelamour
This is my second time purchasing this book. It has some many levels that I only remembered the basic plot. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Teach Them All
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was my first time reading Stephen Carter and I was thrilled. I liked the mystery of it all. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Amazon Customer