BLACK & WHITE by Lewis Shiner. Burton, MI; Subterranean Press; 2008. 1st edition trade hardcover.
When Michael follows his dying father to North Carolina, a lifetime of lies begins to unravel. His pursuit of his father's past--haunted by voodoo, adultery and murder--takes him to a place called Hayti, once the most prosperous black community in the South. Now the mysteries of Michael's own heritage become a matter of life and death, as racial conflicts barely restrained since the 1960s erupt again.
Rooted in the true story of the US government's urban renewal policy and its disastrous aftermath, Black & White is a literary thriller, a family saga, and a searing portrait of institutionalized hatred.
"Lewis Shiner's latest, Black & White, is killer. Strong characters, suspenseful situations, and tremendous insight. A novel that doesn't flinch from social issues, and is so gracefully written it makes you want to weep. Should not be missed. Lewis Shiner is the real deal, and this is his finest work."
-- Joe R. Lansdale.
"Black & White, Lewis Shiner's long-awaited return to the novel, is social realism so urgent and committed as to be an act of witnessing. Like books by Richard Price and George Pelecanos, Shiner's is both a page-turner and an urban documentary with a big, fierce heart."
-- Jonathan Lethem.
From Publishers Weekly:
"Set in Durham, N.C., Shiner's powerful and affecting sixth novel (after 1999's Say Goodbye) explores civil rights, race relations and 'progress' in that city over the past half century... Shiner weaves Michael's, Robert's and Ruth's stories into a stunning tapestry that captures the hopes, dreams, greed, bigotry, ambitions and betrayals that shaped their destinies and those of our country."
"[Black & White] shines a light on a little-known and shameful part of America's 'urban-renewal' history and does so with palpable anger."
From the LA Times:
"Black & White, as the title suggests, is painted on a broad canvas of stark contrasts and big themes, but the book doesn't suffer under the weight of its ambition... As Black & White draws to a close, and the fence-swinging array of viewpoints and time periods merge into a murky shade of contemporary gray, Michael is left wondering what's the use of revolutionary fervor when it effects little overall change. 'The only answer...,' he is told, 'is that you have to take sides and you have to show the world that you mean it. You do whatever you can, not because of what you hope to accomplish, but because to do anything else is ultimately...not acceptable.' The same answer applies equally well to Shiner. The novel's mere existence is proof that Shiner means it--and that readers ignore him at their peril."
Issued in a fully clothbound trade hardcover edition. Fine in fine dj. OUT OF PRINT.