'Like Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch... A stunning novel of ideas that becomes a page-turning thriller... ' Stylist
'A fast-paced, ambitious, hallucinatory mystery' Publishers Weekly
A dizzying, nail-biting ghost story about modern America from the bestselling author of The Impressionist
Two twenty-something New Yorkers: Seth, awkward and shy, and Carter, the trust fund hipster. They have one thing in common: an obsession with music. Rising fast on the New York producing scene, they stumble across an old blues song long forgotten by history -- and everything starts to unravel. Carter is drawn far down a path that allows no return, and Seth has no choice but to follow his friend into the darkness.
Electrifying, subversive and wildly original, White Tears is a ghost story and a love story, a story about lost innocence and historical guilt. This unmissable novel penetrates the heart of a nation's darkness, encountering a suppressed history of greed, envy, revenge and exploitation, and holding a mirror up to the true nature of America today.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Hari Kunzru’s fifth novel is unflinchingly original. Is it a ghost story? A thriller? A coming-of-age tale of love? Frankly, it’s all of these things. Chronicling the friendship and business relationship between tech obsessive Seth and monied jazz aficionado Carter, we got obsessed with White Tears and its characters’ complex, sinister relationship. As Carter tugs Seth further down into a world of drugs, depression, and paranoia, an inexplicably cursed record threatens to change their lives forever.
The excellent new novel from Kunzru (Gods Without Men) opens as a coming-of-age yarn and ends as a ghost story, but its real subject is a vital piece of American history: the persistence of cultural appropriation in popular music. Twenty-something white roommates Carter and Seth are audiophiles, record collectors, and budding producers living in New York. They're obsessed with black music, whether it's reggae, jazz, funk, or hip-hop. When Seth records an old chess player in the park, Carter remixes it into a counterfeit blues song and markets the record as the work of an obscure black singer named Charlie Shaw. Almost immediately, they are approached by a mysterious collector who insists that Shaw is real and after Carter is savagely beaten and left in a coma, Seth begins to discover just how real. With Carter's sister, Leonie, for whom Seth nurses an unrequited crush, Seth undertakes a perilous journey from New York to Mississippi to unravel a mystery that weaves together the blues, obsessive collectors, and the American South. What he finds is murder and the unquiet ghost of Shaw. White Tears is a fast-paced, hallucinatory book written in extraordinary prose, but it's also perhaps the ultimate literary treatment of the so-called hipster, tracing the roots of the urban bedroom deejay to the mythic blues troubadours of the antebellum South. In his most accessible book to date, Kunzru takes on the vinyl-digging gentrification culture with a historical conscience.