by Jardine Libaire
Publisher: Hogarth (May 30, 2017)
A stunning star-crossed love story set against the glitz and grit of 1980s New York City
When Elise Perez meets Jamey Hyde on a desolate winter afternoon, fate implodes, and neither of their lives will ever be the same. Although they are next-door neighbors in New Haven, they come from different worlds. Elise grew up in public housing without a father and didn’t graduate from high school; Jamey is a junior at Yale, heir to a private investment bank fortune and beholden to high family expectations. Nevertheless, the attraction is instant, and what starts out as sexual obsession turns into something greater, stranger, and impossible to ignore.
The unlikely couple moves to Manhattan in hopes of forging an adult life together, but Jamey’s family intervenes in desperation, and the consequences of staying together are suddenly severe. And when a night out with old friends takes a shocking turn, Jamey and Elise find themselves fighting not just for their love, but also for their lives.
White Fur follows these indelible characters on their wild race through Newport mansions and downtown NYC nightspots, SoHo bars and WASP-establishment yacht clubs, through bedrooms and hospital rooms, as they explore, love, play, and suffer. Jardine Libaire combines the electricity of Less Than Zero with the timeless intensity of Romeo and Juliet in this searing, gorgeously written novel that perfectly captures the ferocity of young love.
“Each page crackles with the intensity, fury, lust, and pure insane pleasure of first love. Jardine Libaire has written a chronicle of one couple’s wild romance: its highs and lows, its delights and contractions, its beauty and its messiness. A delight to read.”—Nathan Hill, author of The Nix
“Brilliantly written and deeply felt, this is a love story by turns comic and tragic, but always moving. Whether her characters are on the social register or the welfare roll, Libaire is a keen observer of human nature.”—Philipp Meyer
“White Fur is glorious: dark, dirty, and sexy, lit up with yearning and raw, young love. Libaire’s sentences left me breathless. This is a Roman candle of a novel. I absolutely loved it.”—Amanda Eyre Ward, author of The Nearness of You and What Was Lost
“This sexy American fairytale about a star-crossed couple solidifies Jardine Libaire’s status as poet laureate of late nights and young love.”—Ada Calhoun, author of St. Marks Is Dead
Wealthy families lived there before the neighborhood slipped, and the house is forlorn like a society girl forced to get a job.
People looked to him like one of those Tibetan children picked out as a reincarnated lama. They think he knows the secret to life. They get mad when he doesn’t offer it up.
She was handed more personality than other mortals, and chemically fertilized in a glasshouse—now her bionic strength allows her to teleport platters of watercress sandwiches from the kitchen to the library, where she’s beating her friend at backgammon. Her own dogs fear her. Her staff never needs disciplining because they live in terror—her authority hums on a subsonic level to all the creatures in the land.
The dog is like a cotton ball pulled out of a drain. Teeth and gums so nasty her breath transcends a closed door. She torments Angel, waking him by standing over his face and breathing into his nose… Angel opens his eyes every morning to this gremlin.
Why is he hard to look away from? He doesn’t invite it— fantasy is just built into the meaning of his body the way a swimming pool is made for water and a cemetery for graves.
I am more than a bit conflicted about how to rate this unique, intense, and mesmerizing story. It was an unusual storyline packed with offbeat and fascinating characters that were not anywhere near the best of human kind, but not the worst either. The main characters of Jamey and Elise were oddly mismatched in almost every area. I was engrossed, frustrated, and entranced by their tale. The storyline weaved a mosaic of good times, schemes, floundering, and anxieties; and was embellished with intricate details of bizarre observations that were startlingly clear, and at times unsettling, yet held me enthralled. I was right there with them as an intrigued and voyeuristic spectator to their careening journey. There were brilliant threads of humorous observations and poignant insights, as well as a lurking heaviness, underlying tension, and dissatisfaction found within their inner musings. Written in my favorite dual POV, I was occasionally horrified yet unfailingly fascinated by these characters and found the plot and writing to be smartly crafted, captivating, maddeningly paced, highly observant, and eerily insightful. But I am stamping my little foot at that ending, it occurred all too quickly, but then again, I’m always greedy and wanting more when it comes to a good story. Jardine Libaire has a new fangirl.
Jardine Libaire is a graduate of Skidmore College and the University of Michigan MFA program, where she was a winner of the Hopwood Award. White Fur is her second novel for adults. She lives in Austin, Texas.