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MEETING OF THE WATERS

Kim McLarin, Author
Kim McLarin, Author . Morrow $24 (352p) ISBN 978-0-688-16905-3
Hardcover - 663 pages - 978-0-7862-4297-9
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-06-050587-5
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-595-53169-1
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The issues of biracial marriage and racial bigotry are explored with potent insight and literary skill in McLarin's second novel (after Taming It Down). During the explosive aftermath of Rodney King's police assailants' trial in L.A., veteran reporter Porter Stockman was attacked and almost beaten to death by rioters. Now back home in Philadelphia, Porter is elated to reencounter Lenora "Lee" Page, a black woman who saved his life. Coincidentally, Lee, also a seasoned journalist, has just accepted a job on the Record, Porter's paper. Though they are both well aware of the cultural prejudices against biracial relationships, Porter passionately woos Lee while she struggles with a lifelong determination to fraternize solely with members of her own race. Eventually, she overcomes her misgivings, and joyously (but at Lee's insistence, secretly) they become lovers. When Lee's best friend pays her a surprise visit and meets Porter, however, Lee must try to justify her shift. And Porter, made uneasy by Lee's preoccupation with race, questions his own vaunted belief in equality. McLarin pulls no punches in her candid portrayal of the conflicts that often occur when conscientious adults examine assumptions each race makes about the other, and when they acknowledge, even against their will, the existence of solid barriers separating racial groups. Strong characterization lifts the narrative far above stereotype. Porter and Lee are a pair of personable and tortured lovers who reflect their unique pasts in psychologically nuanced portrayals. Their story may be a cautionary tale for those who would pit individuality against group identity. Primarily, though, this is a gripping novel about love and the obstacles it encounters even in so-called enlightened society. (Nov.)

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