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A Density of Souls by Christopher Rice

A Density of Souls (2000)

by Christopher Rice

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1,1072111,127 (3.8)13



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Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
Didn't grab me, had the vaguest idea of what was going on by the end of the book
  rosechimera | Mar 16, 2018 |
Didn't grab me, had the vaguest idea of what was going on by the end of the book
  rosechimera | Mar 16, 2018 |
Up to the time they entered their teens, Brandon, Greg, Stephen and Meredith were close friends, doing everything together, but that all changed as they moved on to high school when Greg and Brandon, now popular sports jocks turned on Stephen and Meredith became for a time little more than a bystander.

In their childhood Brandon and Greg did things with Stephen they would now rather forget, Stephen however has grown to accept the very things that frightened him when he thought about other boys. To make matters worse, while Brandon and Greg, now well built muscular youths have the physical power over the slender Stephen, and as Greg tries to ignore what he had with Stephen and now dates Meredith, it seems Stephen has an even stronger power over his two one-time friends. A power Greg would prefer to ignore but ultimately, and disastrously, cannot, whereas Brandon actively pursues his hatred and directs it at the entire gay community with tragic results.

Meredith, for her part, while secretly knowing all along what took place between the young Greg and Stephen, and after she overcomes her own problems, sees the truth of the situation and becomes a crucial support to Stephen and also to Greg's mother, who is inflicted with more than her fair share of trouble. That is not to say the the other excessively wealthy parents of our four youngsters escape, money certainly does not buy peace of mind.

Fortunately for Stephen his power to bring out the true nature of other men works both ways, just as Greg is unable to accept what Stephen stirs in him, there are those who, seemingly straight, respond positively and act upon their feelings; Stephen can find devoted lovers.

The Density of Souls is a powerful, complex and thought provoking novel, yes it may be a little over-wrought and extreme at times, but this is not to detract from it. This is my second Christopher Rice novel and I am now a dedicated fan greatly impressed by his ability to create and control complex plots and loving his more appealing characters. (I hope he does not desert this form altogether.) ( )
  presto | Dec 21, 2016 |
3.5 stars

Read all my reviews on http://urlphantomhive.booklikes.com

My last encounter with Christopher Rice, The Vines, disappointed me quite a lot. So although I was curious, I wasn't really looking forward to reading A Density of Souls. However, I'm glad I did read it. This was a completely different (and a lot better) book.

My review is of the new re-published edition, so I can't say anything about the older version.

I expected a horror, but the book is far more a mystery, I don't recall any supernatural parts. Four teens, with some complicated relationships between them, New Orleans. The story was a bit slow at first, but when I got the feeling it was really starting it was a very fast read.

Some parts were a bit weird. I mean I'm no Freud but... And there was this completely rushed, completely unnecessary hurricane near the end of the book. I still don't know what that was doing there. The prose is sometimes a bit over the top but overall, quite a nice read and definitely a lot better than The Vines.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! ( )
  Floratina | May 26, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
added by gsc55 | editReviews by Amos Lassen (Dec 3, 2014)
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Rocks rot. Only the chant remains.
But overhead, the moon is always beaming.

Fate can deny us sisters, only to deliver them later in life.

Salvation can come with the first man
who inspires us to lift our hands to the keyboard.
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Beneath a sky thickening with summer thunderheads, they rode their bikes to Lafayette Cemetery, where the dead are buried above ground.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
blurb; A Density of Souls is the story of four young friends in New Orleans whose lives are pulled in drastically different directions when they enter high school. Meredith, Brandon, Stephen, and Greg, once inseparable, are torn apart by envy, secret passion, and rage. They quickly discover the fragile boundaries between friendship and betrayal as they form new allegiances: Brandon and Greg gain popularity as football jocks and Meredith joins the bulimic crown, while fragile Stephen is treated as an outcast and is the target of homophobia in a school that viciously mocks him. Their struggles are fueled by generations of feuds and secrets hoarded within their opulent Garden District homes, and soon two violent deaths disrupt the core of what they once shared.
Five years later the four friends are drawn back together as new facts about their mutual history are revealed and what was held to be a tragic accident is discovered to be murder. As the true story emerges, other secrets begin to unravel and the casual cruelties of high school develop into acts of violence that threaten an entire city. Bold, richly plotted and gripping, A Density of Souls is a stunning debut novel.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0786886463, Paperback)

Take the sensuous, fecund New Orleans setting, add a generous helping of tangled Southern family history, and season liberally with a sensitive teenage boy rejected by his friends and frightened of his own homoerotic impulses and you wouldn't be surprised to discover that the novel containing all of the above was written by someone named Rice. But a few paragraphs into the first page, it's clear that Anne Rice's son's first novel isn't about vampires or witches and does not otherwise read like one of her exceedingly popular books. The only family resemblance is in the setting, the sexual orientation of the lovingly described male characters, and the scent of overripe magnolias.

There's murder, suicide, and madness at the heart of this rather clumsy coming-of-age story, which focuses on the youthful friendship of Stephen Conlin, Meredith Ducote, Greg Darby, and Brandon Charbonnet. This friendship is destroyed by a sexual incident that takes place just before the foursome enters Cannon, an exclusive prep school. There, Stephen is ostracized by his former friends, now the most popular kids on campus, who'd just as soon forget their own complicity in the event. Envy, passion, and rage drive the narrative, but the emotions are as juvenile as the characters, and the long passages depicting the rituals and cruelties of high school, from pep rallies to football games, slow down the pace without really illuminating character or motivation. The novel reads like a roman à clef. Rice might have been wiser to tell someone else's story rather than his own. --Jane Adams

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:51 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Four friends in New Orleans who were pulled apart during high school are drawn back together when they discover that what they thought was an accident was really murder.

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