The author of The Emperor of Ocean Park, with the powers of observation and richness of plot and character, returns to the New England university town of Elm Harbor, where a murder begins to crack the veneer that has hidden the racial complications of the town’s past, the secrets of a prominent family, and the most hidden bastions of African-American political influence. And at the center: Lemaster Carlyle, the university president, and his wife, Julia Carlyle, a deputy dean at the divinity school – African Americans living in “the heart of whiteness.”The book started a little slow for me. It focused more on Julia, with her wondering what happened to her former boyfriend and spending a lot of time confused. However, once the book gets into the mystery of the murder, and a former detective, now head of security at the college, decides to get some answers, things started to pick up. I'm starting to try and figure out the murder, more so then I was doing when Julia was the central character. Where I'm at right now, the former detective is going to confront Julia. I'm sure things will shift back to her point of view, but maybe with the story diving deeper into the mystery to keep it interesting.
Lemaster is an old friend of the president of the United States. Julia was the murdered man’s lover years ago. The meeting point of these connections forms the core of a mystery that deepens even as Julia closes in on the politically earth-shattering motive behind the murder.
Relentlessly suspenseful, galvanizing in its exploration of the profound difference between allegiance to ideas and to people, New England White is a resounding confirmation of Stephen Carter’s gifts as a writer of fiction.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
New England White
I started New England White last week, the second novel by Stephen Carter, author of The Emperor of Ocean Park (a book I read years ago and remember enjoying). Here's the publisher's synopsis: