Synopses & Reviews
For twelve years Carson Blake inhabited a world of his own creation. Scorned by the father who was incapable of showing him affection and nearly consumed by the mean streets of Prince George’s County, Maryland, Carson did what no one else could: he saved himself.
After joining the police force and building a family with his wife, Bunny, Carson is finally in control of his life in the enclave where African American wealth and privilege shares the same zip code with black American crime and tragedy. Both Carson and his wife have great careers and three beautiful children: Roslyn, Roseanne, and Juwan. Carson is a devoted father, determined not to be the father that Jimmy Blake was to him. But while Juwan’s astounding artistic talent is his father’s pride, the boy’s close relationship with classmate Will conjures up emotions and questions in Carson that threaten to spill over and poison the entire Blake family.
And then, one night in March, nearing the end of a routine shift, Carson stops a young black man for speeding. He orders Paul Houston to exit the car and drop to his knees. But when Houston retrieves something from his waistband and turns to face Carson, three shots are fired, one man loses his life and two families are wrenched from everything that came before and hurled into the haunting future of everything that will come after. When it is revealed that Paul, a son of educators and a teacher in Southeast D.C., was only holding a cell phone, Carson’s carefully woven world begins to unravel.
After is a penetrating work of discovery for a man whose life careens more than once off the edge of disaster. Golden’s astounding prose will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page.
"The author of half a dozen books on race, both fiction and nonfiction, Golden tackles the subject from a different perspective in her latest novel about a black policeman who kills an innocent young black man. Thinking the driver he just pulled over is reaching for a gun, Maryland police officer Carson Blake shoots first. But what Carson thought was a gun turns out to be a cellphone. Carson; his wife, Bunny; and their three children struggle through the aftermath as Golden explores the baggage that comes with the badge for a black family man. The story has potential, but Golden's flat prose and bloodless dialogue drain it. She does offer some studied insight into a fraught dynamic, but the novel as a whole is standard and sentimental." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
When a police officer pulls over a young man for driving without his headlights on, he mistakes the man's cellphone for a gun and fatally shoots him. The officer descends through a maze of self-recrimination and shame; his wife and children leave him; and he struggles to put his life back together after the life-altering mistake.
Police officer Carson Pierce is cocky and confident and, he believes, untouchable, until the night he pulls over a young man for driving his Lexus without headlights. A brief scuffle leaves the son of an affluent black family dead, his hand holding the cell phone Pierce assumed was a gun.
With a surgeon’s precision, Marita Golden gets inside the mind of a man caught in a nightmare. She traces his descent through a maze of self-recrimination and shame; his bouts of drinking; the humiliation he suffers when his wife and children leave him; and his alienation from his colleagues. As Pierce struggles to put his life back together, Golden creates rich and telling portraits of his family: his devoted wife, Bunny, who watched as years of wearing the “suit”—the phrase she uses to describe her husband’s uniform—changed the man she married; his estranged father; and his son, Juwan, whose uneasy relationship with his father grows more difficult as Juwan accepts his identity as a gay teen.
Marita Golden is known for taking on controversial subjects and uncovering hidden truths. In AFTER, she brings to life the tensions between black policemen and the black community and paints a searing yet compassionate picture of how a man and his family face—and recover from—a life-altering mistake.
About the Author
MARITA GOLDEN is the author of works of both fiction and nonfiction. Her books include Migrations of the Heart, Saving Our Sons, and most recently, Dont Play in the Sun. She is the founder of the Hurston/Wright Foundation, an organization that supports African American writers. She lives in Mitchellville, Maryland.