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White Fur by Jardine Libaire
Literary fiction

White Fur

by Jardine Libaire

Excellent choice

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Quick take

Their love burns with the fire of a thousand suns, the way all first great loves do, and everything that transpires between them stokes that fire deeper.

Synopsis

From the publisher:

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 a housing project 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.

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White Fur

From chapter one:

JUNE 1987

Outside their motel window, Wyoming is lurid with sunset. A billboard for Winston simmers on the horizon of highway, as if the cigarettes might ignite in their box.

Standing rain has collected in the sagebrush close to the road, and heat makes a perfume from these puddles: herbal, medicinal, otherworldly.

Inside Room 186 of the Wagon Wheel Inn, Elise will be kneeling on the carpet, which is orange like a tangerine. Her hair is greasy and braided, and a name'”tattooed in calligraphy on her neck'”is visible. She keeps both hands on the shotgun'”the muzzle pressed into Jamey's breast.

He'll be sitting on a chair in the middle of the room, hands on thighs.

'œDon't you love me?' he'll ask, quiet and desperate. 'œElise. Come on. Don't you love me?'

She bites her lip.

He's not wearing a shirt'”just jeans'”and his bare feet are splayed. The couple has been in this position for two hours and fourteen minutes.

Fifteen minutes now.

Her muscles are quaking. His should be.

In case the room seems small in this recounting, be sure it's not. It's gigantic, swollen, pounding on a molecular level like a billion hearts, the way a space does when the people in it realize their power. Elise will close her eyes, turn her head, and push the safety off.

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Why I love it

Star-crossed lovers lead completely opposite lives yet find themselves living next door to each other. Jamey is a legacy trust-fund kid studying at Yale; Elise a streetwise girl from the Connecticut projects with nothing to her name but an old white fur coat.

Their love burns with the fire of a thousand suns, the way all first great loves do, and everything that transpires between them stokes that fire deeper. Every word and every silence. Every sex scene (they are numerous and steamy). Every glance and every breath. It’s a kind of love that feels like poetry, and Jardine Libaire’s prose captures the heightened emotions of the young couple, with language that envelops you like you are floating beneath clouds of cotton candy. And yes, it’s true that sometimes her prose can also make you feel like you’re drowning in molasses, but that’s also part of being in love. Drowning.

Their love moves at the speed of a runaway freight train, from New Haven to New York City, and the book develops with that same intensity. As I found myself reading faster and faster, the intoxicating, maddening energy of their relationship spilled out of the pages and into my real life. My heart beat faster and faster, so much so that at one point I had to put the book away, not ready to find out what was about to happen in the next pages. At dinner, I could only talk about the book, relaying the story of Jamey and Elise to my boyfriend who patiently sat across me, as if they were real people.

White Fur is raw and powerful'”a love story where love conquers all, but still makes us wonder, is it worth it?

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Member ratings (3,244)

  • Nicole C.

    Leechburg, PA

    This book was amazing, not only do you have that romance between the two characters but you also have this urgency to change.Both characters struggle with obstacles that they didn't think would happen

  • Dorothy H.

    Rye, NY

    WOW! I almost stopped reading at the start but I'm glad I didn't. Awesome New York story of two scarred people who grow and evolve individually and together in a surprising way. High recommendations!

  • Deb L.

    Shrewsbury, MA

    Not a book I would have picked out on my own; it was a little dark, a little gritty, but I liked the trip it took me on. I couldn't wait to get back to it every night. It stayed on my mind afterwards.

  • Monica C.

    Salem, MA

    Amazing book - I finished it in two days. The writing is delicious...it's poetic, raw, shocking, beautiful, real. Ms. Libaire has a gift. There were so many parts of both characters I could relate to.

  • Sarah H.

    Maryville, TN

    At first, I was struggling to keep up with the story line. As Elise & Jamey's story took off, though, I realized I had to keep going. I was terrified towards the end, & crying happily at the last line

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