Black & White

Lewis Shiner, Author . Subterranean $25 (367p) ISBN 978-1-59606-171-2

Set in Durham, N.C., Shiner's powerful and affecting sixth novel (after 1999's Say Goodbye ) explores civil rights, race relations and “progress” in that city over the past half century. In 2004, 35-year-old Michael Cooper accompanies his father, Robert, who's dying of lung cancer, and his mother, Ruth, from Texas to Durham, to honor his father's wishes and to find out more about his father's past. Michael learns about Hayti, a well-to-do black neighborhood that was demolished to make way for an expressway, uncovers an old murder and finds himself point-man in a race to prevent a much greater tragedy. Shiner weaves Michael's, Robert's and Ruth's stories into a stunning tapestry that captures the hopes, dreams, greed, bigotry, ambitions and betrayals that shaped their destinies and those of our country. While the crime plot builds to a conventional resolution, Michael's poignant discovery of his parents' roots and the splendid depiction of Durham's changing social fabric more than compensate. (June)

Reviewed on: 03/31/2008
Release date: 06/01/2008
Paperback - 367 pages - 978-1-59606-302-0
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