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The Emperor of Ocean Park by Stephen L.…
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The Emperor of Ocean Park (original 2002; edition 2002)

by Stephen L. Carter

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2,098445,715 (3.56)53
An extraordinary fiction debut: a large, stirring novel of suspense that is, at the same time, a work of brilliantly astute social observation.The Emperor of Ocean Parkis set in two privileged worlds: the upper crust African American society of the eastern seaboard—old families who summer on Martha’s Vineyard—and the inner circle of an Ivy League law school. It tells the story of a complex family with a single, seductive link to the shadowlands of crime. The Emperor of the title, Judge Oliver Garland, has just died, suddenly. A brilliant legal mind, conservative and famously controversial, Judge Garland made more enemies than friends. Many years before, he’d earned a judge’s highest prize: a Supreme Court nomination. But in a scene of bitter humiliation, televised across the country, his nomination collapsed in scandal. The humbling defeat became a private agony, one from which he never recovered. But now the Judge’s death raises even more questions—and it seems to be leading to a second, even more terrible scandal. Could Oliver Garland have been murdered? He has left a strange message for his son Talcott, a professor of law at a great university, entrusting him with “the arrangements”—a mysterious puzzle that only Tal can unlock, and only by unearthing the ambiguities of his father’s past. When another man is found dead, and then another, Talcott—wry, straight-arrow, almost too self-aware to be a man of action—must risk his career, his marriage, and even his life, following the clues his father left him. Intricate, superbly written, often scathingly funny,The Emperor of Ocean Parkis a triumphant work of fiction, packed with character and incident—a brilliantly crafted tapestry of ambition, family secrets, murder, integrity tested, and justice gone terribly wrong. From the Hardcover edition.… (more)
Member:roddyk
Title:The Emperor of Ocean Park
Authors:Stephen L. Carter
Info:New York : Knopf, c2002.
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:African American, law, upper class

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The Emperor of Ocean Park by Stephen L. Carter (2002)

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» See also 53 mentions

English (41)  Dutch (2)  Korean (1)  All languages (44)
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
I couldn’t even make it to one hundred pages before I dropped it. I got so tired of the infuriatingly arrogant and distant protagonist and his conceited tangents.
  sarahlh | Mar 6, 2021 |
This truly is well done. I like Mr Carter's tone and the relaxed and personable manner in which his story unfolds. His use of language is lyrically elevated, slightly pretentious but not unapproachable or condescending. He offers multiple views on society, racism, poverty, etc that we are not familiar with in relation to Black American literary characters and he handles this balance well. He needs a better editor but at the same time this is incredible for a first novel.
I'll read his other books but I'm probably going to need to a break. Too many words and I just am not sure I've ever had that complaint of a novel before. ( )
  LoisSusan | Dec 10, 2020 |
The Emperor of Ocean Park is set in two privileged worlds: the upper crust African American society of the eastern seaboard—old families who summer on Martha’s Vineyard—and the inner circle of an Ivy League law school. The Emperor of the title, Judge Oliver Garland, has just died, suddenly. A brilliant legal mind, conservative and famously controversial, Judge Garland made more enemies than friends. Could Oliver Garland have been murdered? He has left a strange message for his son Talcott, a professor of law at a great university, entrusting him with “the arrangements”—a mysterious puzzle that only Tal can unlock, and only by unearthing the ambiguities of his father’s past.

This was a long, wordy and rambling story that I wasn’t sure I would like when it started. But it drew me in with interesting characters and information that was slowly revealed throughout. The characters were flawed and not always likeable. The story touches on politics, societal attitudes, racism and religion but not too much. Overall, it kept me wondering what was going on and made me want to find out so I enjoyed it. ( )
  gaylebutz | Nov 14, 2020 |
upper crust African Americans darker nation — old law school — paler nation
M. V. — shadows of crime —
Very Good — chess Elements

Talcott Garland is a successful law professor, devoted father, and husband of a beautiful and ambitious woman, whose future desires may threaten the family he holds so dear. When Talcott’s father, Judge Oliver Garland, a disgraced former Supreme Court nominee, is found dead under suspicioius circumstances, Talcott wonders if he may have been murdered. Guided by the elements of a mysterious puzzle that his father left, Talcott must risk his marriage, his career and even his life in his quest for justice.
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  christinejoseph | Jul 21, 2016 |
After reading a lot of reviews about this book I was debating on whether or not I should read it. I am glad I did. I enjoyed the book, but I could see why people gave it so-so reviews. The basic story was good and interesting. There were a lot of side stories that I felt detracted from the basic storyline and it got tiring trying to keep up with everything. ( )
  i.should.b.reading | Jan 15, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
Yet this is not a novel exclusively about politics or even about blacks maneuvering in a white world. It is at its center a book about the pleasures and miseries of family life, and the scenes in Talcott's house, the pauses and silences and evasions and eruptions when one spouse is having an affair and the other isn't, are very well done; similarly, the tensions between brothers and sisters; and the comfort and coherence an intelligent preacher can bring to the disconsolate; and at the end, a realization that it's wise to draw a line between past and present, due diligence be damned.
added by SimoneA | editNew York Times, Ward Just (Jun 9, 2002)
 
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Epigraph
Deux fous gagnent toujours, mais trois fous, non!
(Loosely: Two fools always win, but three fools, never!
-Siegbert Tarrasch

(Note: The chess piece Americans call the bishop, the French call "le fou".)
Dedication
For Mom, who loved a mystery, and for Dad, who is not in this one: I love you both, always.
First words
When my father finally died, he left the ******** tickets to my brother, the house on Shepard Street to my sister, and the house on the Vineyard to me.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

An extraordinary fiction debut: a large, stirring novel of suspense that is, at the same time, a work of brilliantly astute social observation.The Emperor of Ocean Parkis set in two privileged worlds: the upper crust African American society of the eastern seaboard—old families who summer on Martha’s Vineyard—and the inner circle of an Ivy League law school. It tells the story of a complex family with a single, seductive link to the shadowlands of crime. The Emperor of the title, Judge Oliver Garland, has just died, suddenly. A brilliant legal mind, conservative and famously controversial, Judge Garland made more enemies than friends. Many years before, he’d earned a judge’s highest prize: a Supreme Court nomination. But in a scene of bitter humiliation, televised across the country, his nomination collapsed in scandal. The humbling defeat became a private agony, one from which he never recovered. But now the Judge’s death raises even more questions—and it seems to be leading to a second, even more terrible scandal. Could Oliver Garland have been murdered? He has left a strange message for his son Talcott, a professor of law at a great university, entrusting him with “the arrangements”—a mysterious puzzle that only Tal can unlock, and only by unearthing the ambiguities of his father’s past. When another man is found dead, and then another, Talcott—wry, straight-arrow, almost too self-aware to be a man of action—must risk his career, his marriage, and even his life, following the clues his father left him. Intricate, superbly written, often scathingly funny,The Emperor of Ocean Parkis a triumphant work of fiction, packed with character and incident—a brilliantly crafted tapestry of ambition, family secrets, murder, integrity tested, and justice gone terribly wrong. From the Hardcover edition.

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