White Tears by Hari Kunzru
A novel

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Kunzru’s novel skids and slaloms inexorably to Jackson, Mississippi, where Charlie Shaw may or may not have once sung. Its bandwidth gets increasingly congested with hysterical and urgent voices, as it deconstructs and unravels what it portrays as white privilege.
-Guardian

Synopsis

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.
 

About Hari Kunzru

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Hari Kunzru is the author of the novels The Impressionist, Transmission, and My Revolutions, and is the recipient of the Somerset Maugham Award, the Betty Trask Prize from the Society of Authors, a British Book Award, and the Pushcart Prize. Granta has named him one of its twenty best young British novelists, and he was a Fellow at the New York Public Library's Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers. His work has been translated into twenty-one languages, and his short stories and journalism have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, The New Yorker, the London Review of Books, Wired, and the New Statesman. He lives in New York City. www.harikunzru.com
 
Published March 14, 2017 by Knopf. 288 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Horror. Fiction
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Critic reviews for White Tears
All: 6 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 3

NY Journal of Books

Below average
Reviewed by J. Kent Messum on Apr 21 2017

There’s no denying that Kunzru can write. His prose has great flow, and the pace of his storytelling has a compelling urgency. Dialogue is mostly on the strong side, and he tackles some tough questions (and even harder answers). But the delivery of his message is heavy-handed and often poorly executed.

Read Full Review of White Tears: A novel | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Steve Erickson on Mar 29 2017

This is the song that winds up unmoored between the heart that’s felt it and the tip of the tongue that awaits the heart’s transmission, the song that dies with its singer until it rises like a spirit to wander American ground, in search of a promise that’s determined to keep itself.

Read Full Review of White Tears: A novel | See more reviews from NY Times

LA Times

Above average
Reviewed by Michael Broida on Mar 15 2017

A tidy ending to “White Tears” comes as a surprise after the muddled and perplexing second act, detracting from some of the powerful social commentary wrapped up in Seth’s sojourn to Mississippi.

Read Full Review of White Tears: A novel | See more reviews from LA Times

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Sukhdev Sandhu on Apr 28 2017

Kunzru’s novel skids and slaloms inexorably to Jackson, Mississippi, where Charlie Shaw may or may not have once sung. Its bandwidth gets increasingly congested with hysterical and urgent voices, as it deconstructs and unravels what it portrays as white privilege.

Read Full Review of White Tears: A novel | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Anthony Cummins on Apr 03 2017

We hear only whining: for all the pyrotechnics, Kunzru has primed us – from his title onwards – to see Seth’s story as nothing other than a matter of black and white.

Read Full Review of White Tears: A novel | See more reviews from Guardian

National Post arts

Above average
Reviewed by Mike Doherty on Mar 15 2017

At the very least, White Tears can make for a conversation starter: at its best, it’s a densely layered and dark tour de force, about the dues that have been paid, and the reparations yet to come.

Read Full Review of White Tears: A novel | See more reviews from National Post arts

Reader Rating for White Tears
57%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 15 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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