The Cave Dwellers

Christina McDowell. Scout, $28 (352p) ISBN 978-1-982132-78-1
McDowell’s mordant debut novel (following the memoir After Perfect) sends up the Washington, D.C., establishment. The torture and murder of Texas oil scion David Banks and his family sets off shock waves among teenage daughter Audrey’s classmates and their families. Bunny Bartholomew’s industrialist father is being sued for dumping chemicals, and her callous, blue-blooded mother wonders if the Banks murders were “divine intervention” after their new money made them social competitors with the Bartholomews. The son of an Army general who’s under investigation for his role in alleged war crimes lets himself be waterboarded with champagne (and filmed) at a party, while elsewhere a senator chases off his daughter’s Black boyfriend with a gun after catching them naked together, also captured on camera. Meanwhile, Bunny begins visiting the man charged with the murders, former Banks employee Anthony Tell, who is Black, claims his innocence, and is held without bail. As Bunny becomes overwhelmed by guilt about her white privilege, her effort to help Anthony and uncover the truth adds to the conflagration threatening to bring down all the families. While the drama is thick, the characters all hew closely to type (and to one another), with mothers bedecked in diamonds and Hermès scarves, and the fathers largely only distinguishable from one another by their professions and crimes. The flat characterizations don’t make for high literature, but the satire cuts deep. (May)
Reviewed on : 03/01/2021
Release date: 05/01/2021
Genre: Fiction
Book - 978-1-9821-3279-8
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-7971-1358-6
Book - 978-1-9821-3280-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-7971-1360-9
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