Fred Misurella

Book Review: Arrangement in Black and White

I received the opportunity to read this book in return for my review earlier this year. Unfortunately, health issues and school work have caused a huge delay in the posting of this review. But here it is now!

As usual, I didn’t know anything about the book before I read it. I love the sense of surprise and uncertainty. This managed to be extremely unexpected, in my opinion. It really was nothing like I expected – and I didn’t even have any expectations.

This novel jumps back and forth across the timeline quite frequently, but the main body of it takes place during Margy Winters’ adulthood and married life with Everet Hamilton. Margy is white, and Everet is black. This is quite a key aspect to the novel.

Everet is also considering running for Mayor. Margy isn’t so keen on this idea, and their marriage is becoming increasingly strained. Margy’s rage finally erupts, and she stabs her husband with a letter opener, before fleeing. She then runs away with a fellow art student (who is far younger than herself) for a few days.

I’m not going to continue outlining the plot; it’s quite complicated, and I don’t want to spoil anything. But we see Margy attempt to patch her life together, while recalling memories both wonderful and horrific. She describes her time in Paris, where she ran away from her parents, and her past relationships with several men. She also describes her childhood and her strained relationship with her mother, who has a few mental health issues.

My only real criticism of this book is that I didn’t quite¬†feel¬†anything, really. There was a lack of emotion, especially from Margy herself. I frequently found myself confused and unsure of whether her situation was a comedic one or a serious one.

The most intriguing part of this novel for me was Margy’s recollection of Paris. Her encounters were extremely interesting, and her relationship with Josef especially was full of suspense. However, I still felt that strange lack of emotion, which made it a bit hard to really follow at times.

Overall, this was a very fascinating and enjoyable novel. It tackled the huge issue of racism, especially in the past, very effectively. 3.5 stars.