White Tears (Hardcover)
Seth and Carter are young music producers but when they create a blues song that purports to be an early, lost recording, they open themselves to a world of mystery and violence. As two generations of obsessed collectors make their way to Mississippi they enter a phantasmagorical realm where history if ever present and ready to mete out punishment for the sins of the past. Written in prose that brings the music alive, the author has created a discourse on cultural appropriation that is both pointed and disquieting while also absorbing the reader.— From Bill
March 2017 Indie Next List
“An unsettling, grungy, gorgeous tale of white appropriations of black culture, legacy, and memory, of the harrowing effects of racism through the years, of a haunting that resonates through generations through a blues song that should have been stamped on vinyl, that maybe was but never was. This is a story of the costs of a lack of reparations, of money and power and powerlessness, all tied up in the viscerally kinetic prose of an author writing about obsession. Beautiful, ugly, indelible writing makes this a book I won't soon forget.”
— Gretchen Treu (E), A Room of One's Own Feminist Bookstore, Madison, WI
White Tears is a ghost story, a terrifying murder mystery, a timely meditation on race, and a love letter to all the forgotten geniuses of American music and Delta Mississippi Blues. "An incisive meditation on race, privilege and music. Spanning decades, this novel brings alive the history of old-time blues and America's racial conscience."--Rabeea Saleem, Chicago Review of Books
Two twenty-something New Yorkers. Seth is awkward and shy. Carter is the glamorous heir to one of America's great fortunes. They have one thing in common: an obsession with music. Seth is desperate to reach for the future. Carter is slipping back into the past. When Seth accidentally records an unknown singer in a park, Carter sends it out over the Internet, claiming it's a long lost 1920s blues recording by a musician called Charlie Shaw. When an old collector contacts them to say that their fake record and their fake bluesman are actually real, the two young white men, accompanied by Carter's troubled sister Leonie, spiral down into the heart of the nation's darkness, encountering a suppressed history of greed, envy, revenge, and exploitation.
About the Author
HARI KUNZRU is the author of four previous novels. His work has been translated into twenty-one languages, and his short stories and journalism have appeared in many publications, including The New York Times, The Guardian, and The New Yorker. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, The New York Public Library, and the American Academy in Berlin. He lives in Brooklyn.