When the Whitman family moves into the quiet Oak Knoll neighborhood, they have finally achieved ultimate success: home, family, and happiness. But their arrival causes the unraveling of a chain of events, and there is no stopping what is on its way. Narrated by a Greek chorus of neighbors, who see all and know all, they are nonetheless drawn into the vortex that the Whitmans create, and the scene is set for an explosion. Fowler writes a timely story about race, wealth inequality, young love, the failure of the disaster we call a justice system, and the realities of a choice that somehow blows everything to shards. The tension ratchets up with every page turned, until the American dream turns into a national nightmare. Do not miss this searing look at American life and the consequences of living it. Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
"A feast of a read... I finished A Good Neighborhood in a single sitting. Yes, it's that good." Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Small Great Things and A Spark of Light
In Oak Knoll, a verdant, tight-knit North Carolina neighborhood, professor of forestry and ecology Valerie Alston-Holt is raising her bright and talented biracial son, Xavier, who's headed to college in the fall. All is well until the Whitmans — an apparently traditional family with new money and a secretly troubled teenaged daughter — raze the house and trees next door to build themselves a showplace.
With little in common except a property line, these two very different families quickly find themselves at odds: first, over an historic oak tree in Valerie's yard, and soon after, the blossoming romance between their two teenagers.
A Good Neighborhood asks big questions about life in America today — what does it mean to be a good neighbor? How do we live alongside each other when we don't see eye to eye? — as it explores the effects of class, race, and heartrending love in a story that's as provocative as it is powerful.
"A Good Neighborhood is my favorite kind of novel — compelling, complicated, timely, and smart. With great humanity, Therese Anne Fowler imparts a full-hearted, unflinching indictment of a broken system and in so doing tells a story hard to put down and hard to forget." Laurie Frankel, bestselling author of This is How it Always Is
"Fowler's fascinating plot is skillfully executed, delving into each character's complexities fully enough that their choices make perfect sense. This page-turner delivers a thoughtful exploration of prejudice, preconceived notions, and what it means to be innocent." Publisher's Weekly
"Traversing topics of love, race, and class, this emotionally complex novel speaks to — and may reverberate beyond — our troubled times." --Kirkus (Starred Review)
About the Author
THERESE ANNE FOWLER is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald and A Well-Behaved Woman. Raised in the Midwest, she moved to North Carolina in 1995. She holds a BA in sociology/cultural anthropology and an MFA in creative writing from North Carolina State University.