Wallace has escaped his abusive small town past in the south by travelling light years to study in the Midwest. But what should feel like a success brings unhappiness and frustration with the underlying racism he encounters every day in his tutors, fellow students and even his so called friends. The atmospheric writing creates a tension that simmers in the heat of summer by the lake. I was totally immersed in this beautifully crafted novel.
'I still can't believe he said that to you.'
'No one said anything to him; no one did anything.'
'I wanted to, but then, I guess, I chickened out.'
Wallace pauses, still in Miller's arms. There will always be this moment. There will always be good white people who love him and want the best for him but are more afraid of other white people than of letting him down... There will always remain a small place between them, a space where people like Roman will take root and say ugly, hateful things to him. It's the place in every white person's heart, where their racism lives and flourishes, not some vast open plain but a small crack, which is all it takes.