08 November 2013

The Emperor of Ocean Park, by Stephen L. Carter


This is an audio book.

I just read (actually, listened to) a very entertaining and, I think, well-done novel entitled The Emperor of Ocean Park,  by Stephen L. Carter. This is basically a mystery, with political, legal, and racial issues mixed up in it. The mystery is pretty good, with the requisite unexpected twist(s) of plot. There are sufficient red herrings. The characters are all very good, to my mind.

One thing about Ocean Park that makes it extra-interesting is that the main character is an upper-middle-class African-American,  a law professor whose father had been a Federal Court of Appeals Judge. The father dies early in the story, and there is suspicion about his death. I won't try to tell the whole thing, I doubt that I could, but it's a really absorbing read. And through all of it, one gets the impression of having a really unique point-of-view, that is, if one does not happen to be an African-American.

More than once I felt that the author beat certain political drums unnecessarily. His issues happen to be abortion (he's against it) and charter schools (he's for them). Since I disagree with his positions, these drumbeats rankled particularly, and I don't think I failed to notice any. My opinion here could be suspect because of my politics, but I think Carter could have left all of that out without harming the story at all. 

If economy is to be celebrated in writing, removing anything that is not necessary to the work is an obvious goal. I wonder, however, if Carter would not disagree with me. He may have felt that including these issues was important to setting the scene or tone, to providing insight into what is (at least to me) a little-known stratum of American Society: the Middle Class, even professional,  African American. 

I keep a blog of (some of) what I read. I don't always write much about a given book, but I try to include enough to at least jog my memory if I'm trying to remember what it was about. This email is going to do double-duty, as I'm going to use it as my blog entry for this book. 

Now that's economy.


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