In "The Other Side of the River," Kotlowitz takes us to southern
Michigan. Here, separated by the St. Joseph River, are two towns,
St. Joseph and Benton Harbor. Geographically close, they are worlds
apart, a living metaphor for America's racial divisions: St. Joseph
is a prosperous lakeshore community and ninety-five percent white,
while Benton Harbor is impoverished and ninety-two percent black.
When the body of a black teenaged boy from Benton Harbor is found
in the river, unhealed wounds and suspicions between the two towns'
populations surface as well. The investigation into the young man's
death becomes, inevitably, a screen on which each town projects
their resentments and fears.
"The Other Side of the River" sensitively portrays the lives and
hopes of the towns' citizens as they wrestle with this mystery--and
reveals the attitudes and misperceptions that undermine race
relations throughout America. In this gripping and ultimately
profound book, Alex Kotlowitz proves why he is one of this
country's foremost writers on the ever explosive issue of race.
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