When the Whitman family moves into a close-knit North Carolina neighborhood, it looks like a good fit. Initial contact with the folks whose property abuts theirs – an ecology professor and her son – seems promising. But issues and differences seep into the relationship of the families, one white and one black/biracial. Different voices narrate the tale, adding to the depth and nuance of the portraits of all involved. Despite considerable foreshadowing, each turn of the plot takes your breath away. A must read: I guarantee your book club will have its most passionate discussion of the year. Or maybe ever.
- Banna— From Banna's New Recs
“Therese Anne Fowler has taken the ingredients of racism, justice, and conservative religion and has concocted a feast of a read: compelling, heartbreaking, and inevitable. I finished A Good Neighborhood in a single sitting. Yes, it’s that good.” —Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Small Great Things and A Spark of Light
A gripping contemporary novel that examines the American dream through the lens of two families living side by side in an idyllic neighborhood, over the course of one summer that changes their lives irrevocably, from the New York Times bestselling author of Z and A Well-Behaved Woman.
In Oak Knoll, a verdant, tight-knit North Carolina neighborhood, professor of forestry and ecology Valerie Alston-Holt is raising her bright and talented biracial son. Xavier is headed to college in the fall, and after years of single parenting, Valerie is facing the prospect of an empty nest. All is well until the Whitmans move in next door—an apparently traditional family with new money, ambition, and a secretly troubled teenaged daughter.
Thanks to his thriving local business, Brad Whitman is something of a celebrity around town, and he's made a small fortune on his customer service and charm, while his wife, Julia, escaped her trailer park upbringing for the security of marriage and homemaking. Their new house is more than she ever imagined for herself, and who wouldn't want to live in Oak Knoll?
But with little in common except a property line, these two very different families quickly find themselves at odds: first, over an historic oak tree in Valerie's yard, and soon after, the blossoming romance between their two teenagers. Told in multiple points of view, A Good Neighborhood asks big questions about life in America today — what does it mean to be a good neighbor? How do we live alongside each other when we don't see eye to eye? — as it explores the effects of class, race, and heartrending star-crossed love in a story that’s as provocative as it is powerful.
Praise for A Good Neighborhood:
"Riveting...Fowler empathetically conjures nuanced characters we won't soon forget, expertly weaves together their stories, and imbues the plot with a sense of inevitability and urgency. In the end, she offers an opportunity for catharsis as well as a heartfelt, hopeful call to action. Traversing topics of love, race, and class, this emotionally complex novel speaks to—and may reverberate beyond—our troubled times."—Kirkus (starred review)
About the Author
THERESE ANNE FOWLER is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald. Raised in the Midwest, she migrated to North Carolina in 1995. She holds a B.A. in sociology/cultural anthropology and an MFA in creative writing from North Carolina State University.
Praise for Therese Anne Fowler:
"Riveting...Fowler empathetically conjures nuanced characters we won't soon forget, expertly weaves together their stories, and imbues the plot with a sense of inevitability and urgency. In the end, she offers an opportunity for catharsis as well as a heartfelt, hopeful call to action.Traversing topics of love, race, and class, this emotionally complex novel speaks to—and may reverberate beyond—our troubled times." —Kirkus, on A Good Neighborhood (starred review)
"A rippling story for fans of suspenseful domestic dramas" — Booklist
“Therese Anne Fowler has..concocted a feast of a read: compelling, heartbreaking, and inevitable. I finished A Good Neighborhood in a single sitting. Yes, it’s that good.” —Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Small Great Things and A Spark of Light
“Relentlessly paced, stylishly written, and perfectly timed, Therese Anne Fowler’s latest is a sharp, moving portrait of an American neighborhood on the brink of change. You’ll be thinking about A Good Neighborhood long after you've left it.”—Christina Baker Kline, New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train
"Compelling and captivating, A Good Neighborhood left me speechless yet wanting to discuss. This is a story that will stick with you for a long time." —Emily Giffin, #1 New York Times bestselling author of All We Ever Wanted
"A provocative, timely page-turner about the crucial issues of our time. I gulped it down, and the stunning conclusion left me both heartbroken and hopeful.” —Meg Waite Clayton, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Train to London
"A gripping modern morality tale...Familiar elements - two families, two young lovers, a legal dispute - frame a story that feels both classic and inevitable. But Fowler makes the book her own with smart dialogue, compelling characters and a communal “we” narrator that implicates us all in the wrenching conclusion." —Tara Conklin, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Romantics
"A Good Neighborhood is my favorite kind of novel — compelling, complicated, timely, and smart. With great humanity, Therese Anne Fowler imparts a full-hearted, unflinching indictment of a broken system and in so doing tells a story hard to put down and hard to forget." —Laurie Frankel, bestselling author of This is How it Always Is
"Nothing short of mesmerizing." —Kirkus, on A Well-Behaved Woman (starred review)
"Genius....Fowler's exploration of the way powerful women are simultaneously devalued and rewarded resonates powerfully." —Publishers Weekly, on A Well-Behaved Woman (starred review)