White Tears

White Tears

Book - 2017 | First edition.
Average Rating:
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White Tears is a ghost story, a terrifying murder mystery, a timely meditation on race, and a love letter to all the forgotten geniuses of American music  and Delta Mississippi Blues.


"An incisive meditation on race, privilege and music. Spanning decades, this novel brings alive the history of old-time blues and America's racial conscience."--Rabeea Saleem, Chicago Review of Books 


Two twenty-something New Yorkers. Seth is awkward and shy. Carter is the glamorous heir to one of America's great fortunes. They have one thing in common: an obsession with music. Seth is desperate to reach for the future. Carter is slipping back into the past. When Seth accidentally records an unknown singer in a park, Carter sends it out over the Internet, claiming it's a long lost 1920s blues recording by a musician called Charlie Shaw. When an old collector contacts them to say that their fake record and their fake bluesman are actually real, the two young white men, accompanied by Carter's troubled sister Leonie, spiral down into the heart of the nation's darkness, encountering a suppressed history of greed, envy, revenge, and exploitation.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2017.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780451493699
Branch Call Number: FIC Kunzr
Characteristics: 271 pages ; 24 cm

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debwalker Aug 12, 2017

What happens when white hipsters record a black man singing and then repackage it as a long lost blues vinyl from the 1920s? Comeuppance!

m
Mooseum
Aug 09, 2017

I had not heard of this author before, and am not sure how this book was added to my reading list. However, it captured my attention right away when the protagonist was out recording ambient sound in the city. Then there is the story, which quickly drew me in and then kept twisting. and turning itself inside out and went all over the place.

Beyond the story and the history it carries in the music and the rich Wallace family, who make their money running prisons... There is the intricacy in the writing, the reflection of technology, digital vs. analog, reality vs. imagination, layer upon layer... "Electromagnetic grief."

"If Marconi was right and certain phenomena persist through time, then secrets are being told continuously at the edge of perception. All secrets, always being told."
- Hari Kunzru

b
bradallen
Mar 17, 2017

Truly exceptional writing. Reading this book felt like watching a coin you toss into one of those big funnels where it spins faster and deeper into the abyss until it finally vanishes. Great writing about music, cultural appropriation, and dealing with the ghosts--past and present--of racism and exploitation. If this book doesn't immediately appeal to you, give it a chance. It dives deeper and deeper into a blurry, haunting ride into the racial heart of darkness of the United States. Highest recommendation!!

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