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September/October 2007 > New England White - Stephen L. Carter

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message 1: by Betsy (new)

Betsy (ebburtis) | 1261 comments I am listening to this on audio right now and am enjoying it. I find Carter's writing to be completely absorbing, he has great wit, and is very astute about the subtleties of racism. The reviews say this isn't that good as a thriller, but doesn't disappoint those that like his writing for the things I mentioned. Anyone else read this one?


message 2: by Cherylann (new)

Cherylann | 55 comments Betsy, I just discussed this in one of my real life book groups. I didn't find it to be good as a thriller. I liked his writing but felt he was a little wordy. After the book discussion, I had a new appreciation for his use of language. I really liked the social commentary in the book - especially issues of class structure both within dominant culture in the US and within the African American community. We spent most of our book club meeting talking about class structures within the darker nation - as Carter calls it. It was especially interesting for me because, as a white woman, I've never experienced the things mentioned in the book, but I have had call to examine white privilege. I was really thankful to those in book club who were willing to share their experiences. I don't want to say anything more specific for fear of giving something away. This book is truly layers thick, and I liked it for that reason.


message 3: by Betsy (new)

Betsy (ebburtis) | 1261 comments Just finished this. It certainly needed better editing, it seemed to go forever, but despite that I still enjoyed the writing, the characters and the story.


message 4: by Cherylann (new)

Cherylann | 55 comments We said the same thing in book club. The book could have used 200 less pages. Did you find the climax suspenseful?


message 5: by Betsy (new)

Betsy (ebburtis) | 1261 comments Not really. You sort of already knew who did it. But I liked Julia's internal struggle and reconciliation with Lemaster's actions at the end. I really liked her character.


message 6: by Cherylann (new)

Cherylann | 55 comments I felt the same way. I was expecting a huge climax, and when he finally got there, I was like - this is it. I knew that was going to happen. Julia is an amazing character. I wasn't crazy about how Carter wrote a woman - there was too much that felt plastic to me. But she did change as the book progressed. She learned how to stand on her own and follow her heart. I also really liked her daughter.


message 7: by Betsy (new)

Betsy (ebburtis) | 1261 comments I liked the daughter too, but I had figured out what her "trauma" was early on. Like you and the reviews said, not much of a thriller/mystery, but an interesting read just the same. And I really liked the narrator on the audio version - it's the same woman who read The Help for audio too.

I've got Palace Council on my TBR list. Have you read that one yet?


message 8: by Cherylann (new)

Cherylann | 55 comments No, I haven't. I'm not sure if I'm ready to tackle another Carter. :)


message 9: by Gail (new)

Gail I've read both of Carter's first two books. While I was reading the first, I realized that we'd just have to go along with the wordy, college-professor prose and just enjoy the ride. I find him humorous and very interesting, in a kind of nerdish way. As a nerd myself, I can appreciate that.


message 10: by Betsy (new)

Betsy (ebburtis) | 1261 comments Gail wrote: "I've read both of Carter's first two books. While I was reading the first, I realized that we'd just have to go along with the wordy, college-professor prose and just enjoy the ride. I find him hum..."

Ha! That's me to a tee - I really enjoy his lofty prose and the arched eyebrow that goes along with it!


message 11: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lbhick) | 986 comments I found this book today at Goodwill for under $1.50. I probably won't get to it anytime soon, but after all this talk, it just jumped off the shelf at me.


message 12: by Betsy (new)

Betsy (ebburtis) | 1261 comments Lisa wrote: "I found this book today at Goodwill for under $1.50. I probably won't get to it anytime soon, but after all this talk, it just jumped off the shelf at me."

I think you'll definitely get your moneys worth!


message 13: by Julie (new)

Julie (juliecarter) | 5 comments Glad to finally hear from some people who've read Carter's work! I've been interested because we share a last name! Silly reason for reading an author, I know, but I can't help it! I'll definitely check his books out now. (I always say "he's my cousin X" for anyone named Carter. Like Jimmy Carter: "that's my uncle Jimmy". LOL.)


message 14: by Cherylann (new)

Cherylann | 55 comments I definitely don't regret this read -especially after my real-life book club discussion. There are times when I was frustrated because I wanted him to just say what he was going to say and move on. When I think back about the book, his writing is really beautiful in a nerdy way. That's a good thing. Lisa, you got your money's worth for this one.

Julie, I do the same thing as you. With my last name being Schmidt, people often ask if I'm related to Mike Schmidt the former Phillies player. My reply, "He's my father" ;) (NOT) Sometimes it's fun having a famously common last name.


message 15: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie I just SKIMMED over your postings - I found a new copy of this at my local Goodwill and remembered the thread on Bookmarks. At .75 I figured I couldn't go wrong. Is it worth investing my reading time into this fat novel (it has some heft!) or should I trade it in to my local coffee shop's book exchange. They have some great titles up for grabs. Thoughts?


message 16: by Cherylann (new)

Cherylann | 55 comments It is worth the heft of the book. I think it brought up some interesting issues surrounding race and class. Just be prepared for a lot of description.


message 17: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie I like Steinbeck, so I should be okay. :)


message 18: by Cherylann (new)

Cherylann | 55 comments I'm interested in your thoughts on the book. My opinion of it changed after we talked in book club.


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