cover image White Fur

White Fur

Jardine Libaire. Hogarth, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-0-451-49792-5

Set in the late 1980s, Libaire’s novel is an erotic and gritty reinterpretation of Romeo and Juliet. When straitlaced Yale student Jamey Hyde meets rough-around-the-edges Elise Perez, the two engage in a hot and heavy relationship that transcends divisions of background and class. At the end of his junior year, Jamey takes a summer internship in New York City and invites Elise to come with him. Despite the numerous social and economic barriers keeping the two apart, their bond intensifies, eventually pushing Jamey to disown his family, sign away his inheritance, and drop out of school before the start of his senior year. With no concrete plans for the future, the two embrace their new life in Manhattan’s East Village, fighting internal and external battles along the way. Major plot points leave the reader skeptical, but the novel benefits from the author’s deft use of language. Writing with all the senses, Libaire demonstrates an ability to evoke vivid moods and places, drawing a stark and realistic depiction of ’80s Manhattan. She also succeeds at giving equal weight and attention to both her protagonists, elegantly toggling between their perspectives. The most lively, memorable, and convincing character in the novel is the setting itself. (May)