A Good Neighborhood
By Therese Anne Fowler
One of NPR's Best Books of 2020
In Oak Knoll, a verdant, tight-knit North Carolina neighborhood, professor of forestry and ecology Valerie Alston-Holt is raising her bright and talented biracial son, Xavier, who’s headed to college in the fall. All is well until the Whitmans—a family with new money and a secretly troubled teenage daughter—raze the house and trees next door to build themselves a showplace.
With little in common except a property line, these two families quickly find themselves at odds: first, over an historic oak tree in Valerie's yard, and soon after, the blossoming romance between their two teenagers.
A Good Neighborhood asks big questions about life in America today—what does it mean to be a good neighbor? How do we live alongside each other when we don't see eye to eye?—as it explores the effects of class, race, and heartrending love in a story that’s as provocative as it is powerful.
"A story of race, class, region and, yes, tragic love...the result is Shakesperian." ―NPR
"Fowler has crafted one of the most precise and timely novels of the year. The daughter of a local businessman starts dating the biracial son of a professor in a leafy North Carolina suburb, boiling toward an inevitable and wrenching conclusion."―Newsweek
"Fowler’s novel culminates with injustices that are painfully easy to imagine because they continue to be a part of our contemporary lived experience." ― The Washington Post