jgaskew, December 25, 2006 (view all comments by jgaskew)
It took me 3 attempts before I could get into this book. I had to do some investigating on some of the legal meanings that I did not know or understand (very educational for me). Once I passed that point it was very good reading, it kept me guessing util the very end. I enjoyed this work.
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cruxkhalif, November 28, 2006 (view all comments by cruxkhalif)
I just read the last page of this 881 page book and I'm sure he could have told the same story in half the number of pages. Carter is too descriptive: it may be his style,but it is also his flaw. I was always carried away on a tangent before he got back to the point. I had to go back to check how many novels he had written, and when I found this to be his first,I realized why he wanted to impress.
He can tell a story alright, but he needs more focus. I guess Grisham couldn't tell him that.
Nice story, but unnecessarily lengthy and tends to dull one.
I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking this.
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Alfred A. Knopf -
by Ron Charles, The Christian Science Monitor,
"It's an elephant ? not just its size, but its strange collection of parts: It's a light thriller for the beach; a wicked satire of academic politics; a stinging exposé of the judicial confirmation process; a trenchant analysis of racial progress in America....Carter has violated the Jim Crow laws of popular fiction (No academics allowed) and won everybody over." (read the entire CSM review)
by Adrienne Miller, Esquire,
"To be fair, there's some nice writing here, though the prose tends toward the melodramatic. But the author's problem isn't that he can't write. It's that he can't tell a story. Emperor is muddy, messy, cluttered, and chockablock with false clues and meaningless details. As for the hype: You don't believe everything you hear, do you?" (read the entire Esquire review)
by Vanessa Bush, Booklist (starred review),
"Fascinating....[A] suspenseful tale of ambition, revenge, and the power of familial obligations....An elegantly nuanced novel, with finely drawn characters, a challenging plot, and perfect pacing."
by Suzy Hansen, Salon.com,
"[W]hile The Emperor of Ocean Park...has many irritating flaws, in the end, it's not surprising why it's gotten so much hype. It's a Grisham-like legal thriller written by a star academic and public intellectual. Even more appealing, as Carter explains, this legal thriller takes place in a 'larger slice of financially comfortable African America than most white Americans probably think exists outside the sports and entertainment world.'...That doesn't necessarily mean that Carter has anything astonishing to say about the black elite. The superficial, glossy ways of Carter's black bourgeoisie...isn't anything we don't already know about rich people, whatever their color. But Carter's portrayal of the interior life of black movers and shakers...does generate a sense of freshness, of seeing something new. Carter's social novel, the one lurking in the background of The Emperor of Ocean Park and popping up between the car chases, is what makes the pages turn....It's possible that Stephen Carter tried too hard trying to squeeze in all his pet subjects and devise a smart, intricate thriller. It's too bad. The secrets of a dead, rich, powerful black conservative, embroiled in D.C. politics and harrowed by family tragedy, make for a story that's compelling enough on its own."
by Robert McCrum, The Observer (London),
"A thrilling read, driven by a powerful cocktail of plot and character."
by Book Magazine,
"The book's subject, an often-ignored segment of American society, is a welcome departure. However, the author is prone to lectures on race relations and the state of academe, and the story suffers from his tin ear for dialogue and portentous tone."
by Gay Talese,
"A novel of great originality and insight: a saga of an African-American family of affluence and privilege forced to reckon with their misadventures and crimes. But Carter's novel also explores, perhaps for the first time in recent memory, a less familiar vision of the black experience in America: one of pride and optimism, and possibility. I've never read a book quite like it, and I enjoyed it very much indeed."
by Library Journal,
"Those who enjoy a leisurely pace to their suspense and subscribe to Carter's philosophy of conservatism will enjoy it. The rest will stick with Grisham, Martini, and Margolin."
by Ward Just, The New York Times Book Review,
"I think it's not much of an exaggeration to suggest that in Stephen Carter the black upper class has found its Dreiser....There are some wonderful set pieces....It is at its center a book about the pleasures and miseries of family life, and the scenes in Talcott's house, the pauses and silences and evasions and eruptions when one spouse is having an affair and the other isn't, are very well done..."
by Mark Harris, Entertainment Weekly,
"How interesting is the book's exploration of black America's elite? Ceaselessly. And how compelling are the characters? Here, Carter steps on a land mine, for Garland...is a dud....[I]n a novel this ambitious, great characters have to be more than just the sum of their ideas. Grade: B-"
by Kirkus Reviews (starred review),
"With great skill, Carter builds toward a series of climaxes that explode over the final 150 pages. Few readers will refrain from racing excitedly through them. A melodrama with brains and heart to match its killer plot....Irresistible."
by Publishers Weekly,
"[F]irst-rate....This thriller, which touches electrically on our sexual, racial and religious anxieties, will be the talk of the political in-crowd this summer."
Set in the privileged world of New York-Washington-Martha's Vineyard upper-crust African-American society and the inner circle of an Ivy League law school, Carter tells the story of a complex family with a single seductive and dangerous link to the shadow lands of crime.
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.