Customer Reviews for

The Emperor of Ocean Park

Average Rating 4
( 117 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Posted April 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    All together, well done.

    An exceptionally well-written and well-researched novel. As I re-read it(discovering about the upcoming motion picture) again felt it over-detailed as did some of the other reviewers. The characters were well developed, sometimes too much so, and the descriptions involved, again, too involved; however, this novel kept me reading. I was handed a dictionary when I began reading as a young child, and told to underscore any words I was required to define, and, I admit, I was required to "look up" a few of his words and phrases. I felt as if sometimes, Mr Carter was using his extensive vocabulary as a means to mandate one's utilization of a thesuarus thereby educating his audience. I appreciated his "education" but often times felt as if I was being condescended. Ultimately, I enjoyed Mr Carter's novel, his insight into the "Gold Coast", and await his next undertaking into fictional literature.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2004

    Worth it

    I really enjoyed the book. The writing itself was great, really easy to read, although the book is rather lengthy. Unfortunately, all of the chess references totally lost me and the ending in the cemetery took me a few times until I fully understood what the heck was going on. But, overall, the book held my rapt attention and I couldn't put it down, desperately wanting to know what was going on with that whole family!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2003

    Legal Intrigue & Beyond

    Although this is by no means an easy read, if you stick with the Work, you will witness Carter pulling the curtain back on the law, politics and upper class Blacks in a way few have ever attempted. Entertaining and insightful. A great gift for an avid fiction reader.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2003

    Entertaining

    The characters and the world they inhabit are complex and interesting, providing an unexpected look at an unusual segment of black life in America. I suspect that the perspective of the main character might not always necessarily reflect the perspective of the author. If you like simple-minded fast action without depth, this novel is not for you. Although the plot is not without some weak points, the book is interesting and entertaining for anyone who enjoys an intricate story and intelligent writing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2003

    Great character interaction

    It took me a little while to actually get into the book, but once I was in, I was hooked. I thought the personal analysis and relationships were very truthful. The dealings with different perceptions and how people respond to those perceptions was right on, in my experience. Great book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2003

    Who's the Racist Here?

    I am enjoying this book as it is very well written by an obviously talented, well educated an intelligent young black man but MUST he keep throwing the race card around like a protest banner? It's tiresome, overdone and quite frankly, annoying. It's unnecessary, Mr. Carter. You're a talented and gifted writer -- be satisfied with that and stop telling us about this manufactured 'darker nation' with which you seem so obsessed. I didn't buy your book because you're black and I'm black nor would I NOT buy it because you're black. You're highly educated and accomplished. Be grateful you live in a society where that is possible, no matter what the color of your skin. Oh, and by the way, congratulations on your success. It's well-deserved.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2003

    A look into upper class black culture

    This is a different type of book for me. Stephen L. Carter is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Yale University. He usually writes non-fiction books. He is an African American and takes you into the world of the wealthy and cultured black world. When reading this book a dictionary is a must to have near by unless you have a very cultured vocabulary. The key character is Talcott Garland, a law professor at a great university. The Emperor of the title is Judge Oliver Garland, Talcott's father. The Judge has died and it is not sure whether or not he was murdered. The clues left are strange at best and revolve around the game of chess. It is my guess the author plays chess and wove it into the story to demonstrate the intricacies of the game. A very good story but the author's prejudice can be felt more than once or twice coming through the story. Don¿t let that bother you, it's a good story and a lot about black culture is to be learned by reading this convoluted story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2003

    A Great Read

    The Emperor of Ocean Park was a wonderful read. Although it started a little weak, and ended a little weak, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The overuse of referrals to the Dark Nation and Pale Nation was a distraction at the beginning. Unlike many other mysteries I have read and rushed to the end, the writing was so enjoyable I wanted to savor the experience. I am looking forward to more Stephen Carter fiction, but am intrigued enough to pursue his non fiction works as well. Thank you!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2003

    Misha & George finally rule the day

    Stephen L. Carter creates both a complex & convoluded family & plot that compel the reader to keep turning the (too numerous ) pages. I desperately wanted the learn how Misha/Talcott could wrap up his multible mysteries. I also wondered how & why he remained so besotted by his wife, the (apparently ) bewitching, but phenomenally selfish, Kimmer. The character of sister Mariah was underated & somewhat misused. If Misha were less dismissive of her "traditional female values" she could probably have helped her brother to accelerate his progress. All told, this is a first rate book with great character devopement. While some knowlege of chess and a handy dictionary would enhance reading pleasure (semiotician?),this remains a fastastic novel.Carter, please bring an the next book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2002

    Very interesting if you're patient

    I was fascinated by the primary character in this book: he's very intelligent and very vulnerable. Stephen Carter is a methodical writer and if you have the patience and the desire to learn while you read, you'll be rewarded with a superb denouement.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2002

    Excellent debut

    A good if not excellent debut. Kept me enthralled. Immensely readable. The strongest suit is how well the author draws/delineates the characters. Misha is not the archetypal hero. A little weak and spineless. Carter created the ultimate cold career driven female in Kimmer- misha's wife. The characters move the story along when the plot lags and they sustain interest where the plot fails. like a strange little soap opera. The chararcters' reactions to each other and their domestic environment were of more interest to me than the general "thriller" plot. At several points I found myself reading on to determine " exactly how much more of this woman is misha really going to take?"

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2002

    Listen to this Book on Tape

    When you do, then you will truly jump into the mind of the author. The "reader" has a satiny, gliding voice which truly captures and conveys the tenor set by Mr. Carter in this thriller. Listening to books on tape is the only way to read for me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2002

    An intriguing plot with complex characters, somewhat marred by Carter's inexperience if crafting a fiction thriller.

    I did enjoy this read although it probably should have been pared by 200 pages. With better editing, Carter could soon master the art of fiction as well as he has the art of cultural commentary.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2002

    Great Beginning - So, So Ending

    I wanted to love this book. It had the makings of a great classic. Great characters, social commentary on racism in non-southern America (rare in current fiction), good story line. I ended the book feeling somewhat cheated. The book turned into a far-fetched murder mystery. I still recommend the book, because the author talks about 'underground' racism in places where it is not supposed to exist any longer (we all know better). It is still a good read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2002

    A page turner but definitely flawed

    This is certainly a good read -- I stayed up with it much too late a couple of nights -- but does anyone else see the protagonist as a sanctimonious prig? His anger, bitterness, cynicism and lack of civility make him a thoroughly unpleasant character and a very difficult one to feel any sympathy for. The author's political and religious didacticism became a bit tiresome as well. Nevertheless, the suspense builds well, and the plot, while ultimately implausible, plays out nicely. The slow reveal of discoveries is satisfying, even if the eventual ending is a letdown. I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of a movie they make out of it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2002

    Thick but Fun

    Hmmm... just finished it. I'm a bit on the fence. I was consumed by this book for 3 days, though it was somewhat bloated, and I couldn't decide whether I enjoyed the exhorbitant length or was unhappy about it. Certainly it could have benefited from some pruning. I rather appreciated the emphasis on character and family dysfunction. It made me think a lot about race. It made me hope that most African-Americans are neither so depressed nor so obsessed about their skin color as this sympathetic but nerdy protagonist. I'm from D.C., love the Vineyard, and live in Connecticut (and I'm a lawyer, though one of the paler nation) so it had a lot of fun, familiar references for me. The underlying 'mystery' was quite complex and I'm not sure that Carter succeeded in bringing his deep and exciting backstory into the present. It was almost as though he didn't write the thriller that happened years before -- he wrote about some fairly dull guy that was trying to figure out about the excitement he missed. I found the last confrontation quite contrived, but didn't mind the actual ending, as some apparently did, because it seemed to me entirely consistent with the protag's ethics. My opinions have nothing to do with Carter's politics... I barely knew them before I read this book. I did enjoy thinking about ethics, Christianity, and duty in a way that is rarely encountered in novels. I read a recent interview with Carter in which he seemed to be dismissive and defensive about the fame and cash this book will bring... funny, then, why did he write it? Perhaps just as a way to get those who haven't read his nonfiction to read about his views? Overall, it sure made me think, and I believe it will stay with me for a long while to come.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2002

    LOVED IT!

    You feel, smell, and feel like you are inside of the mind of the main character. Such great intorspection of the main character you feel like Mr. Carter is writing about himself. I could not put it down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2002

    One of the best of the year!

    I read SO many books, and this is one of the best books I've encountered in a long time. Carter has created a family and a protagonist of remarkable dimension and realism. Written in first person, present tense makes this story immediate, and draws you through the thoughts, observations and actions of a man facing his own monsters while uncovering the monsters of his father's past. I enjoyed the social, racial, religious and political commentary that fleshed out the story and augmented the personalities in the story. Usually when I can't put a book down, it ends too quickly, but Carter matched my endurance with a hefty 640 pages that kept me from honest work and socialization for more than a week! Read it for yourself, and be glad we've got writers like this!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2002

    No cursing? no sex?

    What pleasantly surprised me about this novel was the lack of cursing and the absence of explicit sexual content. This is a 'clean' book! That fact alone distinguishes itself from most novels on the market. I enjoyed getting to know this african-american law professor as he struggles through his trials. I also appreciated that faith was treated with respect. Could the pace be picked up? Yes. Was the book a little long? Yes. But I did care about the main character enough to keep reading. The book was worthy of my time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
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