“Carter twists plotlines like pretzels while wryly skewering America’s wealthy intellectual elite.”–People
John Grisham called Stephen L. Carter’s first novel, The Emperor of Ocean Park, “beautifully written and cleverly plotted. A rich, complex family saga, one deftly woven through a fine legal thriller.” The Chicago Tribune hailed Carter’s next book, New England White, as...more
For me, it was almost too intricate, too finely plotted, for this feeble brain to keep up with! I've spent much of the last week finishing Palace Council as I nurse a bad back, and perhaps my brain is wilted a bit as well.
Palace Council is a long book (over 500 pages). The author's note at the end is also worth reading, because Carter explains little changes he made to history, in order to fit in with Eddie Wesley's journey.
The real heroes of th ...more
This book could use a very efficient editor. The plot wanders, and there are too many twists. It makes me think of being a kid sitting in church during the sermon, and the preacher would use his "wrapping it up" cadence, and then plunge right back in and keep going. Palace Council had too many non-climaxes. Also, too many characters. Ultimately, it was confusing, which can easily sli ...more
This is definitely a page turner, but "The Emperor of Ocean Park" is still my favorite. Make no mistake though, this is no light read. I highly recommend.
Oh critics, how ye disagree! Many found Palace Council overly long and complained that the "thriller" parts came and went at random. It's also a bad sign in a genre that depends on flash/bang finales if the ending is considered weak. On a separate note, Edward and Aurelia witness more historical events than Forrest Gump
This book clenched me just after the prologue, because he gets right to the mystery by page 6. I especially enjoy Carter's way of titling chapters "Again the Carpenter" (for example), when a character resurfaces after a gap of time. It's a great way for the reader to go back and remember the last exhange.
If you are new to Carter's books, I suggest to read them in order of publication, because his writing style ...more
Carter, Stephen L. (2008). Palace Council. New York: Vintage.
The characters are interesting and well-rounded in this saga of a prominent black community in Harlem, from the mid-1950’s to the mid-1970’s. Eddie Wesley is a black (“Negro”) writer who achieves sudden early fame and prosperity, which admits him into the upper echelons of rich black society. He loves Aurelia, but she marries someone else for money and status. Her relationship with Eddie neverth ...more
Other reviews here at the site are quite accurate.
Stephen L. Carter is an excellent author his characters are well drawn, real and easy to become interested in. Also, the subject matter of the small, but often influential African American upper class of the 50s'-60's is interesting and cl ...more
There are so many characters and the novel spans two decades. I found it really hard to follow and even at the end I wasn't exactly sure what had happened throughout the story. Also confusing was the fact that some of the "characters" are actual historical figures - Kennedy, Nixon, Langston Hughes, etc.
It was still ok, and interesting if you enjoy Carter's first two stories - some of the characters in his earlier novels are "born" during this one. I loved his first two novels b ...more
The author has a message: political violence is not necessary. He skillfully weaves in historical events to tell his message and give it verisimilitude. He uses what is usually seen as a tragedy -- Watergate -- as a symbol of hope that political ...more
Thus begins our story and Eddie’s two decade long quest, first bouncing between DC and NYC a ...more
If you want something that will stretch you to keep up with all of the history and details, and have some focused time to get lost in a story, this might be a good book for you. Mr. Carter writes very well, but this was not my favorite of his books—I liked Emperor of Ocean Park best of all.
The book gives us a view ...more