The Errand of the Eye

Hope Norman Coulter, Author
Hope Norman Coulter, Author August House Publishers $15.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-87483-056-9
Reviewed on: 09/01/1988
Release date: 09/01/1988
In a non-strident yet convincing fashion, Coulter dramatically emphasizes the destructive consequences of racial prejudice. In 1966, Bostonian Frank McCain is summoned back home to Louisiana by a relative who wants him to help manage her plantation, Green Isle. Although life at the homestead is generally placid, almost somnolent, there is an undeniable undercurrent of suspicion between whites and blacks. Frank magnanimously puts the plantation into a trust to be controlled by its black workers, but his honorable act can't undo generations of hostility. Frank's daughter Allie discovers this reality when she has a furtive affair with a black man many years her senior. When a young black is falsely accused of raping a white woman, Allie finds herself in a position to exonerate him, yet she hesitates because doing so will entail revealing her romance. The loosely structured plot somewhat impedes the novel's dramatic momentum; even so, Coulter demonstrates that she is an insightful writer who can depict the hideousness of racism as it exists in otherwise decent, respectable citizens. (September)
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