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White Tears

White Tears - Hari Kunzru This is tremendously well written, highly topical and slightly surreal: a modern ghost story bouncing off themes of race, class and privilege.

I didn’t particularly enjoy it - I hated everybody in it - but like [b:The Goldfinch|17333223|The Goldfinch|Donna Tartt|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1451554970s/17333223.jpg|24065147], I admire it (altho for my money while it does remind me of Tartt’s work - in a good way - it feels closer to [b:The Secret History|29044|The Secret History|Donna Tartt|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1451554846s/29044.jpg|221359]. Which is a Very a Good Thing in my book).

The prose is exquisite, and it pulls no punches in using its arguably slight plot to explore questions of racism and privilege. It’s craft is in integrating these themes into the horror of the story without slipping into polemic. It is acutely aware of societal structural inequalities, unlike resentful Leonie or beleaguered Seth, desperate to avoid being held accountable for the sins of others (“whatever happened to him, I’m not to blame”). It implicitly poses a difficult question – if we benefit from the oppression of others (historic and present), are we equally culpable if we make no efforts to address it? – and its blood-soaked, Gothic response is satisfying, if far from comforting.

Full review