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White Tears by Hari Kunzru
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White Tears

by Hari Kunzru

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3542845,843 (3.83)33
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» See also 33 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
I was completely wrong-footed by this and then thrilled by the direction the narrative took. A tale of spoiled white music collectors morphed into a scorching revenge ghost story about cultural appropriation and the birth of the Blues. Delightfully unexpected and subversive, timely and powerful. ( )
  asxz | Mar 13, 2019 |
I feel like any description or observation I could make about this terrific book would be a spoiler - even the publisher description gets a little too close, although I think it gives a fair taste of what to expect. Anyone teaching a music or history course that covers 20th century blues music would be giving their students a real gift by assigning it. ( )
  badube | Mar 6, 2019 |
Quirky turned weird. Finally somber, depressing, unhinged. A modern morality play of sorts.

Brilliantly written. Engaging for the most part, then difficult. Unhinged in space and time, all compressed into one time.

I'm glad I read it. I would hesitate before recommending it. The book is a downer.

Terrific moments of insight into the arcane. Insights into life. Sight into no life. ( )
  yhgail | Feb 20, 2019 |
There are some really good kernels of ideas here, but they were never fleshed out or even connected to one another in a meaningful way. ( )
  Katie_Roscher | Jan 18, 2019 |
Great book! Complex story about race, legacy and "echoes of the past". Sound as a metaphor for how past actions continue to have consequences in our present life and a good ghost story as well. ( )
  redwritinghood38 | Nov 6, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
Hari Kunzru has written a timely novel that demands an examination of the toxicity and perniciousness of whiteness. With razor-sharp insights, White Tears depicts what Greg Tate calls “everything but the burden”: the history of whiteness in the United States as a series of violent appropriations and erasures of black life, black experience, and black culture — which it has attempted to eliminate both physically (the prison industrial complex is but one recent example) and culturally (by turning black culture into commodity fetish).
 
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Epigraph
I rolled and I tumbled 
Cried the whole night long 
Woke up this morning 
I didn't know right from wrong
Dedication
For Katie
First words
That summer I would ride my bike over the bridge, lock it up in the front of one of the bars on Orchard Street and drift through the city on foot, recording.
Quotations
When you listen to an old record, there can be no illusion that you are present at a performance. You are listening through a gray drizzle of static, a sound like rain. You can never forget how far away you are. You always hear it, the sound of distance in time.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451493699, Hardcover)

From one of the most talented fiction writers at work today: two ambitious young musicians are drawn into the dark underworld of blues record collecting, haunted by the ghosts of a repressive past.

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. 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 23 Sep 2016 19:08:35 -0400)

Two ambitious young musicians are drawn into the dark underworld of blues-record collecting while navigating the fallout of a scam involving one's claim that a viral video of an unknown singer is a long-lost recording of a famous blues musician.

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