White Tears by Hari Kunzru

White Tears

From one of the most talented fiction writers at work today: two ambitious young musicians are drawn into the dark underworld of blues record collecting, haunted by the ghosts of a repressive past.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 t...

Details White Tears

TitleWhite Tears
Release DateMar 14th, 2017
PublisherKnopf Publishing Group
Number of pages304 pages
GenreAdult Fiction, Contemporary, Fiction, Literary Fiction, Music, Novels

Reviews White Tears

  • Roman Clodia
    This is an inventive piece of writing that tackles questions of race both historically and in modern terms ('post-race'? Not in this book) through a prism of music - but not in any conventional or standard way. Kunzru takes his time to get to where he's going and I was a trifle impatient in the first half of the book (all those audio terms and tech-speak!) though from the start the threads that will lead to the conclusion are laid out in an entic...
  • Sam
    This book isn't what you think it is. This book wasn't what you thought it was. This book has always not been what you thought it would be.I felt like there were two books in White Tears, but the final, can't stop reading for anything 50 pages force the halves into sides A and B of the record, completing each other, forming a whole, forcing me to appreciate more of what had come before. Early parts are occasionally irritating but gave me enough i...
  • Jill
    What is the connection between the listener and the musician? Does it matter that one of you is alive and one is dead? And which is which?In this brilliant new novel, Hari Kunzru explores these questions. The narrator, Seth, is a dweeby young man who is obsessed with recording sounds during his walks in New York City. One day he happens across an old chess player who is singing a haunting blues song that he can't get out of his mind. He brings th...
  • Kim
    In lieu of a review I have decided to post some choice quotes from this book. Infer what you will. He listened exclusively to black music because, he said, it was more intense and authentic than anything made by white people. He spoke as if "white people" were the name of an army or a gang, some organization to which he didn't belong. We worshipped music like Perry's but we knew we didn't own it, a fact we tried to ignore as far as possible, ma...
  • Ben
    felt there was a genuine plot thread involving the intense connection with sound and music that the 2 main characters bonded over. However, the book rapidly deteriorated into an overwrought drama involving death, prison and desperation. I found the turn the book took too histrionic and theatrical. There could have been a solid book here in a quieter mode about the passion young people feel for music and the journey that takes. I thought this was ...
  • George Jr.
    This is a terrible book. The received stature of the author makes that a surprise, but it is terrible nonetheless.Nothing against the ambition, which boils down to the question of authenticity, what it is and the dangers of pursuing it to the utmost level of purity. The vehicle is old-time American music, from poor Southern musicians, mostly black and mostly blues players, recorded in the 1920s on labels like Paramount. The characters who carry t...
  • Siobhan
    White Tears is a literary horror story about music, race, and the hidden stories in America’s history. It starts off showing two music-obsessed friends, Seth and Carter, with Carter’s trust fund allowing them to delve into musical history and attempt to buy long forgotten records. This obsession with the past becomes something darker, something which defies conventional senses of past, present, and reality, until they are caught in a world wi...
  • Chelsea
    This book was unlike any others that I have read. A study on a current issue of white privilege and it's interconnectedness with the past. This book started out with a straightforward fictional story of an unlikely friendship and a seemingly innocent hobby that brought them together. Fast-forward through this book and it turns into a ghost story with a narrative that fluidly goes from the present to the past, back and forth. Sometimes you don't ...
  • Cynthia
    Hardi Kunzru is a unique voice. I'd never heard of him prior to happening upon this book about blues music, how it's was and is created, what motivates blues artists, and how it differentiates from jazz music. The two main characters are college devotes who live an breath this art form though neither is a trained performer...they're more blues worshippers. Carter is the rich outwardly cool kid and Seth is a classic nerd but no matter how they mig...
  • Aubrey Smith
    I would have loved this book so much more if it hadn't been so confusing to read. In the beginning my head was spinning with all the terminology, the middle of the book was the most interesting to me, and then the end just had my head spinning again. It was so hard to follow which character you were actually reading through, what was really happening, what wasn't. *I won this book in a giveaway.
  • switterbug (Betsey)
    This extraordinary novel takes place in different time periods, and from NYC to the American South, spanning about 80 years that run fluidly together in a dreamscape-terrorscape. Like Gods Without Men, you have to let go of pre-conceived notions of temporal events and just go with the flow. It starts off with a straightforward narrative in contemporary NYC and then, eventually, dissolves into a prism of ghosts that superimpose the past onto the p...
  • Oryx
    Not all that. Not for me. 3.44
  • Paul
    My first Hari Kunzru. I loved it. On paper it doesn't sound like my sort of book at all but Kunzru is such a good writer he makes it work brilliantly. I don't want to sat too much as it's the unexpected crossing of genres that makes the narrative so compelling.
  • Ariel
    I couldn't put this book down. I know a lot of people interested in sound/sound production, and it was especially insightful about that. Though I can't say I understand sound very well, the philosophy of sound that was integrated into the writing really resonated (sorry...) with me. There is some wonderfully incisive and evocative writing in it, for example, as passage of what it's like as a sound engineer to create an impossible room for the lis...
  • Jessica Woodbury
    I don't like to read the summary of a book before I read it. I started WHITE TEARS knowing Kunzru from some of his previous works and expecting a smart book on race in America. That is what I got, but it came in a package I wasn't expecting, a literary horror novel, a ghost story with a Blues soundtrack, a tale of class and the evil so much of the country was built upon.They may call this book a "ghost story" or "magical realism" because those te...
  • Gretchen
    An unsettling, grungy, gorgeous tale of obsession, white appropriations of Black culture, of legacy, and memory, of the effects of racism harrowing forward 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 pros...
  • Amaka
    I really wanted to like this book. The summary reeled me in but as I was in the middle of the book I came to the realization that nothing made sense anymore. The story jumped from one scene to another. I had to throw in the towel and let this one go.