A Good Neighborhood

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In the affluent and beautiful Oak Knoll neighborhood in North Carolina, modest houses are slowly being razed and giving way to larger, more opulent homes as older residents leave or die, selling their properties to younger, wealthier families. The Whitmans, helmed by local HVAC celebrity Brad, are new to Oak Knoll, and their backyard neighbors, Valerie Alston-Holt and her teenage son Xavier are wary but welcoming. Neither family is thrilled when Xavier begins dating seventeen-year-old Juniper Whitman. There’s the affront of the Whitmans’ oversized home and Valerie’s anger over the damage the construction has wrought on her beloved oak. There’s also the fact that the Whitmans are white, and Valerie is black. Xavier, whose late father was white, straddles the void, his intelligence and ambition seeming to promise safe passage. When Valerie crosses Brad with a lawsuit over the tree, however, Brad retaliates, and no one will escape the escalation unharmed.

Dread builds from the very first page of this novel, when the neighborhood chorus announces, “We begin our story here…” Harm will come to the innocents, that much is clear, and the question of blame isn’t answered as neatly as one might hope. Everyone has heard this story before, at least the broad strokes of it, and this is itself the queasy moral. The horror that Fowler renders in these pages is threaded through with an inevitability that is, perhaps, the most wrenching thing of all. A Good Neighborhood is a page-turner, but there is no joy in the turning.

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Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 320 pages
Publisher St. Martin's Press
Publish Date 2020-02-04
ISBN 9781250237279
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue March 2020
Category Popular Fiction


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