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New England white
Stephen L. Carter
Adult Fiction CARTER

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Turpin's reading of Carter's second novel is sublime. In a book where each character's race is important, capturing that fact for the ear alone is a balancing act to be taken quite seriously. The story opens with a body found on the roadside by Julia Carlyle and her university president husband, Lemaster (both had minor roles in Carter's The Emperor of Ocean Park). It turns out to be an ex-lover of Julia's and a possible blackmailer of Lemaster. What ensues is a gripping tale of race, murder, politics, conspiracy theory and secret societies that revolves around a 30-year-old case involving a dead white girl and an accused, now dead, black attacker. Turpin's prowess in the aural world is apparent, not only when nailing regional accents but in much more subtle ways, like a conversation between two women of roughly the same age who are clearly distinguishable from each other by one's slight smoker's rasp. The story is literate and fast-paced, and Turpin's well-rounded characters keep the fire fueled. Simultaneous release with the Knopf hardcover (Reviews, May 7). (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Too many rabbits are pulled from too many hats in this otherwise excellent novel, but Carter (The Emperor of Ocean Park) makes up for it with muscular narration, appealing characters, and a keen awareness of how ancestry, position, and skin color shape reactions to events. Lemaster Carlyle, the black president of an elite New England university, and his wife, Julia, the divinity school dean, discover the body of a professor who was once Julia's lover. Who killed him, and why? Fearful that the killing is connected to her daughter's increasing emotional instability and that her husband might be involved, Julia struggles to protect her entire family while doggedly pursuing the truth, even if the cost is her peace of mind. The issue of race keeps cropping up in this intriguing novel, as seen through the perspective of this country's thin black upper crust, whose members have reason to suspect the intentions of "the paler nation." Carter's sensitivity to social nuance, especially the delicate negotiations of place and status among members of the country's grievously small black elite, is exceptional. Difficult to put down and highly recommended for general collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 3/1/07.]-David Keymer, Modesto, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Lemaster Carlyle
African American
Recently begun his tenure as president of a prestigious university; discovers the body of a professor and Julia's former lover.
University president

Julia Carlyle
African American
Dean at the university's divinity school.

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