The Emperor of Ocean Park


Dr. Stephen Carter, Yale University Law School, author of Culture of Disbelief, Civility, Integrity.

Central Theme
The heart of man is deceitfully wicked and though humans mask and hide their failures and actions sooner or later the truth will be revealed and none will be able to claim complete innocence.

In what has been variously described as a mystery, a family saga and brilliant astute social observation, in his debut novel, Dr. Stephen Carter unfolds a saga of the Garlands, a hard-working, successful black family that has been touched with scandal and shame with the nomination and withdrawal of a Supreme Court post for the father and a subsequent high-profile accusations of judicial misconduct. With the father’s death, Misha, the younger son, law professor and our central character, finds himself reluctantly drawn into a search for certain arrangements his father has allegedly left in the event of his death. Carter was interested in exploring the impact of public scandal on the families of the accused and Misha’s quest is carried out during a period of time in which his tenured position seems to be jeopardized, his marriage is unraveling and he is inevitably drawn into what were already tenuous relationships with and older brother and overly suspicious sister.

In addition to a plot line that keeps you turning pages and compelling characters, Carter brilliantly harnesses the genre of fiction to provoke thought and discussion about important issues race, religion, marriage and family.

Beliefs num
–Everyone has secrets.
–Be sure your sins will find you out.
–The Christian life is a messy one.
–Being black creates another layer of suspicion in understanding people’s motives and actions.

Questions Worth Discussing num
–Does every human keep secrets?
–Can secrets be kept forever or will they always be revealed?

Provocative quotes byline
–The connection between the degree and the desire to understand the law grows more and more attenuated.
–To that there is little to say, other than to mention God’s will, which, in our family, nobody ever does.
==Misha, reflecting on his sister feelings that dad’s death has come at a bad time
–He had plans for you, Talcott. You have a chance to make everything right, Talcott. You can fix it.
==Aunt Alma, indicating it is Misha’s job to discover the father’s ¢â‚¬Ëœarrangements’
–You draw a line and you put yourself on one side of the line and the past on the other.
==One of Judge Garland’s favorite sayings about dealing with the past
–Nobody can resist temptation all the time. The trick, Talcott, is to avoid it.
==Another of the Judge’s sayings
–It is surprisingly easy to destroy the things we love.
==Misha, reflecting on life and the motives of his father’s betrayer
–The church is the steward and custodian of moral knowledge, not its originator.
==The Judge’s frustration with the shifting mores of the church
–We pray thee to set thy passion, cross and death between they judgment and our souls.
==Prayer at the Judge’s funeral
–Love is a gift we deliver when we would rather not.
==Misha to Kimmer, his wife
–The web: one third retail, one-third porn, and one-third lies, all our baser nature in one quick stop.
==Misha’s view of the web
–Satan never changes. That is his great weakness.
==Misha, reflecting on evil at the dinner party
–The problem is not that America is a Christian nation, but that it is not Christian enough.
==Rob Saltpeter

Posted in Books, Staublog in June 4, 2002 by | No Comments »

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