By Vanessa V. Friedman
Updated January 07, 2000 at 05:00 AM EST

The New City

type
  • Book

Amidon’s novel is set in the 1970s, in a utopian town built just outside Washington, D.C.—a place with a giant lake for fishing and a rec center for teenagers, a place where black and white, rich and poor will live happily ever. Such is the dream, anyway, of Austin Swope, the white lawyer who wheels and deals the town into existence, and Earl Wooten, the black contractor who builds it brick by brick. Swope and Wooten don’t just dream the dream, they live it, becoming best friends, just like their teenage sons. Too good to be true? Of course, and, just as Nixon implodes, so does the town. With the opening of subsidized housing, fights begin to break out among kids and the rec center is closed. Impressively imagined and controlled, this ambitious novel manages to be both metaphor and tale, a parable of a nation’s loss of innocence reflected in a small town’s pool. A-

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The New City

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