Synopsis: (as told by the back of the book)
When Elise Perez meets Jamey Hyde on a desolate winter afternoon, fate implode, and neither of their lives will ever be the same. Although they are next-door neighbors in New Haven, they come from different words. Elise grew up in public hosing without a father and didn’t graduate from high school; Jamey is a junior at Yale, heir to a private investment bank fortune and beholden to high family expectations. Nevertheless, the attraction is instant, and what starts out as a sexual obsession turns into something greater, stranger, and impossible to ignore.
The couple moves to Manhattan in search of a new life, and White Fur follows them as they wander through Newport mansions and East Village dives, WASP-establishment yacht clubs, and the grimy blocks below Canal Street, fighting the forces determined to keep them apart. White Fur combines the electricity of Less Than Zero with the timeless intensity of Romeo and Juliet in this searing, gorgeously written novel that perfectly captures the ferocity of young love.
White Fur was grimy, gritty, and hard to put down. Everything about it seems a little bit wrong and that makes it all the more intriguing. I was always a little bit (or sometimes extremely) concerned but also thrilled by each thing that happened.
The two main characters are not likable and do not strive to be. Jamey is completely oblivious of the full extent of what he’s been given. Elise is entirely unpredictable. Sometimes I hated his emptiness and sometimes she made me want to pull my hair out, but I also wanted them to succeed. Even when I couldn’t understand why they were drawn to one another, I despised anyone who tried to pull them apart.
The magic of this story is in its setting. The contrast of their two worlds comes alive in the spaces they inhabit – the juxtaposition of the fine dining restaurant in New Haven with Elise’s rundown apartment. Of the Trump Tower penthouse with their East Village hovel. The sterility of a hospital room. The comfort of a rundown New York City corner deli. I truly felt transported back to the Manhattan of the 1980s.
In some ways, the Romeo and Juliet-esque nature of this story is completely predictable and I found that comforting. I went into this novel looking for that theme and was guided by it. It did not make it any less suspenseful.
Also, I loved the ending.
Libaire is an exceptional writer – her prose is entrancing. Small observations capture feelings I’ve had but have never verbalized. The characters thoughts and dialogue come racing at you at the same pace they’re experiencing them. I cannot wait to see what she creates next.
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