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Arrangement in Black and White

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Author: Fred Misurella

Published: May 22nd 2014 by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform (first published May 21st 2014)

Format: Paperback , 368 pages

Isbn: 9781494852122

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She's white; he's black. But their conflicts are more than racial. Margy's from Iowa, an artist, the product of an abusive mother and neglectful father. Everet's from Connecticut, a civil rights lawyer on the rise toward greater recognition, and their lives take a tense turn when he decides to run for political office just as Margy moves forward in her own career. Arrangem She's white; he's black. But their conflicts are more than racial. Margy's from Iowa, an artist, the product of an abusive mother and neglectful father. Everet's from Connecticut, a civil rights lawyer on the rise toward greater recognition, and their lives take a tense turn when he decides to run for political office just as Margy moves forward in her own career. Arrangement in Black and White captures the conflicts that give edge and interest to all meaningful love stories, yet it does so with an eye toward modern women, interracial politics, and the human inability to balance passion with social, public life. It is a powerful story for contemporary readers.

30 review for Arrangement in Black and White

  1. 5 out of 5

    Shelby Steinauer

    Arrangement in Black and White is a compelling story about an interracial couple and their diverging paths in life. Initially, I had expected this book to be a darker version of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, but it was actually quite different! Race did not play the part that I thought it might but rather Everet's and Margy's starkly different upbringings and careers goals. Margy, a white woman from the midwest, is a product of abuse and mental illness. She is an artist but just as her career be Arrangement in Black and White is a compelling story about an interracial couple and their diverging paths in life. Initially, I had expected this book to be a darker version of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, but it was actually quite different! Race did not play the part that I thought it might but rather Everet's and Margy's starkly different upbringings and careers goals. Margy, a white woman from the midwest, is a product of abuse and mental illness. She is an artist but just as her career begins to move forward, her husband, Everet, makes a move for political office. Everet comes from a much stronger family and is a civil rights lawyer. Margy doesn't fit into the role of a political wife and with that long brewing conflicts come to a head. I found this story compelling as we follow Margy and Everet through their struggle over what is really important in a marriage. This books moves quickly, the characters are vivid and their struggles feel very real. I highly recommend!!!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Raven About

    I closed this book last night with a huge sigh and felt a bit emotional for its characters who have to go through all means of struggle to save their marriage and to get by in life. Margy Winters is the artsy blonde from the Midwest who is married to super-achiever Everet Hamilton who has his eyes set on running for mayor of their current location. They have an adorable son, Kennedy who is only nine and is so young and naïve towards the issues his parents are battling. Margy herself is an amorou I closed this book last night with a huge sigh and felt a bit emotional for its characters who have to go through all means of struggle to save their marriage and to get by in life. Margy Winters is the artsy blonde from the Midwest who is married to super-achiever Everet Hamilton who has his eyes set on running for mayor of their current location. They have an adorable son, Kennedy who is only nine and is so young and naïve towards the issues his parents are battling. Margy herself is an amorous being who finds comfort in not only the arms of Everet but in those of her art teacher and her next-door neighbor Goldy, a teenager. I found myself totally engaged in this story not because of the racial issues this book has, but because of the rich and enticing world of visual arts that it contains. Misurella has once again impressed me with this story because while reading it, I was taken to Paris (one of the centers of everything art in Europe) through the flashbacks that Margy has of her life there both after college and during her drama with her husband. I felt totally shocked by her sensual encounters with African men there and with a prostitute friend of hers that she was enthralled by. I also came to understand her financial issues and how she had to work various jobs to pay her rent and buy her food while staying in France. I, myself, compared myself to her for this and understood her well because most of us who are artists, writers, actors, etc. start out poor and penniless looking and working for that big break that will launch our dreams of being famous and wealthy individuals. This is why I tell you that this book and Fred Misurella is a writer I am beginning to admire and follow on social media because his works are just laden with the arts and shows his fans how grueling and hard life is for those who are in the arts and that despite all that suffering and harshness, we live for our talents and our gifts. We appreciate our humble (and harsh) means because beauty is found there as well. Our knowledge of the blood and sweat and depression and darkness that births masterpieces from our hearts, minds, and limbs is heaven indeed. I am so grateful and so blessed to have stumbled upon this book because it just describes the life that I have always dreamed of and would do anything if I could to turn my life twenty years back to work towards. This was my child and teenage dream that I could have undergone if I did not go through personal tragedies beyond my control. I suggest and recommend this book to all those forthcoming artists out there in high school and in college, those who are currently in speech and drama clubs, those who are taking visual art classes, and to those in glee clubs to read this book because it contains a preview of the life of an artist or the life of someone who would sacrifice anything to pursue their own happiness, despite financial, racial, and status issues. This book, although it may be deemed by some to be disgusting and absurd, is to me a true artist’s world. I am thankful that there are people like Misurella who write these stories that blends drama with the arts. You will definitely appreciate its artistic elements while also feeling sorry, shocked, and surprised for its characters.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Grady

    "Deadless, like Deadless in the story you told me, Daddy. I want to fly to the sun." Pennsylvania author Fred Misurella is a Fulbright scholar and a graduate of the University of Iowa Writers Workshop, has lived in New York and Paris, and has taught creative writing, journalism, and Italian-American Literature at East Stroudsburg University and makes pilgrimages to Provence, Liguria, and Tuscany almost every summer His five books embrace important issues and he has written articles and stories fo "Deadless, like Deadless in the story you told me, Daddy. I want to fly to the sun." Pennsylvania author Fred Misurella is a Fulbright scholar and a graduate of the University of Iowa Writers Workshop, has lived in New York and Paris, and has taught creative writing, journalism, and Italian-American Literature at East Stroudsburg University and makes pilgrimages to Provence, Liguria, and Tuscany almost every summer His five books embrace important issues and he has written articles and stories for Partisan Review, Salmagundi, Kansas Quarterly, Voices in Italian Americana, L'Atelier du roman (in France), The Christian Science Monitor, The Village Voice, and The New York Times Book Review. He is the book review editor for VIA, a semi-annual journal of Italian American culture. Knowing Fred’s literary output – books and articles about significant portions of history and of society – it is refreshing to see his poetic prose that opens this splendid and significant story. In the Prologue we are privy to the childhood of the main female character, sculpted in the manner that graces Fred’s every page: "The damage has already been done, Beverly," he said, thinking of a more precious object. "If she is harmed, if she is hurt in the slightest way--" But he refused to complete that sentence now. Ten, fifteen, almost twenty years of married life, then, at forty, a child to bless his middle age: Margy; darling. He thought of her now, her silver-blond curls, her jeans, the lovely pink-lipped smile, the blue eyes that somehow sent a chill through him they looked so perfect; the arms and legs so graceful they seemed to float above the ground, the hands that always surprised him with their dexterity. He had seen her build things far beyond the abilities of an average girl her age, draw detailed pictures, bodies, arms, legs, fingers, full faces with full complements of features. Genius, he knew. Her hands were like birds, fluttering above a project, never seeming to touch, but nevertheless nourishing and leaving things exactly right: well-formed and in proper proportion. Just as she was.‘ In the author’s description of the book – ‘A novel about a marriage between a white woman, Margy, from Iowa and an African American civil rights lawyer, Everet, from Connecticut. Having met in Paris during the Freedom Summer of 1964, their lives take a tense turn years later when he decides to run for political office just as Margy moves forward in her own career as an artist.’ What that fine summary does not share is the superb manner in which Fred pairs the heritage or background of his couple. She’s white; he’s black. But their conflicts are more than racial. Margy’s from Iowa, an artist, the product of an abusive mother and neglectful father. Everet’s from Connecticut, a civil rights lawyer on the rise toward greater recognition, and their lives take a tense turn when he decides to run for political office just as Margy moves forward in her own career. In addition to the powerful love story Fred addresses the subjects of modern women, interracial politics and that precarious balance between private and public life. Bravo!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tara Phillips

    Arrangement in Black and White by Fred Misurella written to appeal to all audiences with a fast moving plot that tempers a slower pace with layers of complex description about location, era of time, and the character backgrounds - all essential to telling a beginning, middle and end story. Sometimes novels drop off and leave readers wanting more or unsatisfied with the outcome. In my opinion, Fred Misurella's real life upbringing and interest in France, liberal arts and a call of desperation in Arrangement in Black and White by Fred Misurella written to appeal to all audiences with a fast moving plot that tempers a slower pace with layers of complex description about location, era of time, and the character backgrounds - all essential to telling a beginning, middle and end story. Sometimes novels drop off and leave readers wanting more or unsatisfied with the outcome. In my opinion, Fred Misurella's real life upbringing and interest in France, liberal arts and a call of desperation in life until the amazing moment when he could say "Published Author" profoundly reflects in all of his novels. Provocative and daring! Mixed race couple are the main characters. The story opens demonstrating their likes, love and conflicts. Their relationship has a heavy toll of emotional baggage and wounds that will take to overcome. Margy’s from Iowa, an artist, abusive mother and neglectful father. People lacking caring and understanding. Margy's sensibilities are often questioned as if her abuse is the only thing about her. The true person inside is beautiful, kind and able is there if people look deep, take time to know her. Her terrors and frightful parts of her past seep into her new relationship. Untrusting. Some time has past now, she tries to be the doting wife, if just for public view sake, due to her politician husband, making her a politician's wife. But the public rallies and events cause tension between the couple because of acceptance of constituents. Everet’s from Connecticut, a civil rights lawyer with power and a zest, hungry for more. Ambivalent to bring his wife into the life, heavy description leads to a deeper conciousness for readers. Margy's like of appeal for Politics cause disinterest quickly and from Political Wife to Bedford Wife. I feel for Margy's reality thinking she is nothing, no one ever gave her a chance to discover who she is and what vocation she might be suited for. Men take advantage. Women don't mourn her past. But rise up she will. Try some other books by this author. Same style, different people, strife and happiness, captivating writing.

  5. 4 out of 5

    My World of Reviews

    An interracial couple struggling together, but not from their skin colors, only their upbringing. This is a story more people in the world should read, being that it defines a true story of everyday life regardless of color. The constant battle of progressing humans. The written story itself, flows easily, giving true defining terms to each of their endeavors, making for a story that reaches into one’s own understanding. Once you start this story, you will be hard pressed not to set it down.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Re:Views

    This is a provocative story with many issues in play for a reader to consider their own feelings and viewpoints on. However despite all of that this isn’t a preachy book about social convention, rather there is a powerful story behind it all that is entertaining and captivating. This was my first read by Misurella, but I liked it enough to immediately go on and read A Summer of Good Byes on the back of enjoying it so much. Not one of my favorites this year but a solid read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Julius Blitzy

    I liked the title of the book, and I certainly started to read it, because it was interesting for me what the author is telling about there. You know, I really liked the book. It turned out to be an interesting and modern idea. I was pleasantly surprised how the author interpreted modern life and problems. I liked absolutely everything: the heroes, their difficult paths and the author’s style. All this can not leave the reader indifferent. Two nice women faced life problems and teach us how to ac I liked the title of the book, and I certainly started to read it, because it was interesting for me what the author is telling about there. You know, I really liked the book. It turned out to be an interesting and modern idea. I was pleasantly surprised how the author interpreted modern life and problems. I liked absolutely everything: the heroes, their difficult paths and the author’s style. All this can not leave the reader indifferent. Two nice women faced life problems and teach us how to act in our lives. The author Fred Misurella talentedly described the characters and revealed them throughout the book. I really recommend reading the book "Arrangement in Black and White " because you want to keep reading.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    The Arrangement in Black and White was a moving and complex book about an interracial marriage replete with grief, trauma and ambition. The husband, Everet, is a Black civil rights attorney, who comes from a loving and respectful family while his wife, Margy is a white wife and mother with mentally ill, abusive parents. The impact of this abuse is felt throughout the book as Margy spins increasingly out of control as her husband's ambitions take center stage and she continues a long-standing pat The Arrangement in Black and White was a moving and complex book about an interracial marriage replete with grief, trauma and ambition. The husband, Everet, is a Black civil rights attorney, who comes from a loving and respectful family while his wife, Margy is a white wife and mother with mentally ill, abusive parents. The impact of this abuse is felt throughout the book as Margy spins increasingly out of control as her husband's ambitions take center stage and she continues a long-standing pattern of having adulterous affairs with her teacher, friend and acquaintances. Everet pretends not to notice which become unsustainable when he wants to run for political office and Margy refuses to play the role of political wife and helpmate; instead she wants to be an artist which her husband pooh-poohs. I was drawn in by both of the main characters. I felt for Margy as she became more dissociated, more self-destructive and mired in abusive relationships with men. Her flashbacks to her hellish childhood and the sexual abuse that she endured humanized an often cold and initially unknowable character. I also understood Everet's wish for a high-flying career and all that it would mean, personally and politically and his frustration and anger when he realizes that it will not include his wife. There was something likable about this couple and I wanted them to make it. I thought how Everet and Margy talked about race was realistic though not enough. I hoped that there could be conversations about Margy's dreams and hopes about her art and career but this was not common (gender) and still isn't in most political circles. In the end I missed Margy and Everet as a couple but know they eventually were able to lead more fulfilled, though challenging, lives without each other. Thank you Netgalley for giving me this opportunity to review this book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Biblio Phanatic

    Arrangement of Black and White is a second book of Frank Misurella which I read recently. I was delighted with the author's first book so instinctively I read this one. I had a lot of expectations and I was not disappointed. Misurella tries to show us different faces of love and in my opinion he did it well. I could not tear myself away from that book, waiting impatiently for the choices that the main characters- Everet and Margy will make about their lives. It is not easy to preserve in a marria Arrangement of Black and White is a second book of Frank Misurella which I read recently. I was delighted with the author's first book so instinctively I read this one. I had a lot of expectations and I was not disappointed. Misurella tries to show us different faces of love and in my opinion he did it well. I could not tear myself away from that book, waiting impatiently for the choices that the main characters- Everet and Margy will make about their lives. It is not easy to preserve in a marriage where two people, practically are so different- their backgrounds, social status and professional aspirations. Everet is a an African-American successful civil right attorney and Margy an artist with traumatic experience from her childhood. F. Misurella wrote very good novel with realistic scenes quick dialogues, fast-paced plotting. Emotionally challenging book with family issues like incest, sexual abuse. Worth reading.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Laila Viking

    Not what I expected. Not at all. But that is in the most positive way. Interracial stories are normally much alike each other but this one surprised me. I liked it a lot. Well written story with a nice storyline and plot. I like that the characters and how they develop. A passionate and emotional read with twists. Enjoyable and recommendable. It is a story about a white woman and a black man. They have to go through a lot before they can have their HEA. I really liked to follow them on their journ Not what I expected. Not at all. But that is in the most positive way. Interracial stories are normally much alike each other but this one surprised me. I liked it a lot. Well written story with a nice storyline and plot. I like that the characters and how they develop. A passionate and emotional read with twists. Enjoyable and recommendable. It is a story about a white woman and a black man. They have to go through a lot before they can have their HEA. I really liked to follow them on their journey. They had to struggle and fight through a lot just to have a life together. There are passion, drama, danger, protectiveness, betrayal, emotions and lots of chemistry in this amazing story. This story is written in such a captivating writing style that when I had finished it I was overwhelmed by feelings and thoughts. Absolutely an author I will come back to.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Bookish Picks

    Not what I expected. Not at all. But that is in the most positive way. Interracial stories are normally much alike each other but this one surprised me. I liked it a lot. Well written story with a nice storyline and plot. I like that the characters and how they develop. A passionate and emotional read with twists. Enjoyable and recommendable. It is a story about a white woman and a black man. They have to go through a lot before they can have their HEA. I really liked to follow them on their journ Not what I expected. Not at all. But that is in the most positive way. Interracial stories are normally much alike each other but this one surprised me. I liked it a lot. Well written story with a nice storyline and plot. I like that the characters and how they develop. A passionate and emotional read with twists. Enjoyable and recommendable. It is a story about a white woman and a black man. They have to go through a lot before they can have their HEA. I really liked to follow them on their journey. They had to struggle and fight through a lot just to have a life together. There are passion, drama, danger, protectiveness, betrayal, emotions and lots of chemistry in this amazing story. This story is written in such a captivating writing style that when I had finished it I was overwhelmed by feelings and thoughts. Absolutely an author I will come back to.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Gerry LaFemina

    In clear prose, Fred Misurella gives us a post modern novel of ambition, race, mental illness, and the search for the self, while all the time capturing the complexities of love relationships in changing times.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Fred Misurella

    Below is a copy of the Kirkus Review of Arrangement in Black and White: ARRANGEMENT IN BLACK AND WHITE Misurella, Fred CreateSpace (368 pp.) $16.00 paperback, $5.99 e-book ISBN: 978-1494852122; May 22, 2014 BOOK REVIEW A story of interracial marriage that focuses on a complex relationship between people with vastly different backgrounds and priorities. Misurella’s (Only Sons, 2012) latest novel tells the story of Margy Winters of Iowa, the fair-skinned, blonde daughter of neglectful, abusive parents. H Below is a copy of the Kirkus Review of Arrangement in Black and White: ARRANGEMENT IN BLACK AND WHITE Misurella, Fred CreateSpace (368 pp.) $16.00 paperback, $5.99 e-book ISBN: 978-1494852122; May 22, 2014 BOOK REVIEW A story of interracial marriage that focuses on a complex relationship between people with vastly different backgrounds and priorities. Misurella’s (Only Sons, 2012) latest novel tells the story of Margy Winters of Iowa, the fair-skinned, blonde daughter of neglectful, abusive parents. Her husband, Everet Hamilton, is a successful African-American civil rights attorney from Connecticut who’s considering running for public office. Margy’s home life is still fraught with turmoil, albeit in different ways than when she was a child. The issues between her and Everet run much deeper than race: He’s everything that she’s not, because he’s level-headed, stalwart and the product of a very involved mother. The couple’s biggest quarrels stem from his political aspirations and his lack of respect for Margy’s artistic career. However, while they often battle about these matters, they barely even discuss Margy’s repeated infidelity. As Everet’s career begins to take off, their disagreements grow increasingly volatile until they reach a near-catastrophic boiling point. Through a combination of fast-paced plotting, quick-witted dialogue and well-placed flashbacks, readers learn a great deal about the events and character traits that led Margy to her many poor decisions. Even so, Everet has flaws of his own, which he must address before their relationship has any chance of succeeding. The author adeptly weaves in complicating circumstances to keep readers frustrated but hopeful that the couple might work things out, against all odds. As Misurella unspools this engaging tale, he also examines some heavy issues, including gender equality, incest and sexual abuse. Along the way, he creates scenes that are so realistic that the book almost becomes an experience in voyeurism—yet readers will be unable to look away. An emotionally challenging novel, rife with family issues that are both modern and timeless. Kirkus Indie, Kirkus Media LLC, 6411 Burleson Rd., Austin, TX 78744 [email protected]

  14. 5 out of 5

    Library Love

    'Arrangement in Black and White' is an emotional and powerful novel from talented author Fred Misurella. It follows the relationship of Margy Winters and her husband Everet Hamilton in a turbulent point in their marriage. Margy had a troubled upbringing, which has had a significant effect on her, something that her level-headed husband doesn't seem to fully recognise. He has dreams of entering politics, which is pretty at odd with Margy's career as an artist. Respect between the pair is fading a 'Arrangement in Black and White' is an emotional and powerful novel from talented author Fred Misurella. It follows the relationship of Margy Winters and her husband Everet Hamilton in a turbulent point in their marriage. Margy had a troubled upbringing, which has had a significant effect on her, something that her level-headed husband doesn't seem to fully recognise. He has dreams of entering politics, which is pretty at odd with Margy's career as an artist. Respect between the pair is fading and the tension is reaching almost unbearable levels. Can these flawed individuals address their own inner turmoil and make their relationship work? Fred Misurella is so adept at writing about relationships that this novel completely draws you in as you become invested in the protagonists. With the use of flashbacks, you learn so much about Margy and Everet, which helps you to understand their motivations in later life. Some of the subjects are harrowing, but they are handled sensitively and empathetically. Overall, a great read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kickass Reads

    Not what I expected. Not at all. But that is in the most positive way. Interracial stories are normally much alike each other but this one surprised me. I liked it a lot. Well written story with a nice storyline and plot. I like that the characters and how they develop. A passionate and emotional read with twists. Enjoyable and recommendable. It is a story about a white woman and a black man. They have to go through a lot before they can have their HEA. I really liked to follow them on their journ Not what I expected. Not at all. But that is in the most positive way. Interracial stories are normally much alike each other but this one surprised me. I liked it a lot. Well written story with a nice storyline and plot. I like that the characters and how they develop. A passionate and emotional read with twists. Enjoyable and recommendable. It is a story about a white woman and a black man. They have to go through a lot before they can have their HEA. I really liked to follow them on their journey. They had to struggle and fight through a lot just to have a life together. There are passion, drama, danger, protectiveness, betrayal, emotions and lots of chemistry in this amazing story. This story is written in such a captivating writing style that when I had finished it I was overwhelmed by feelings and thoughts. Absolutely an author I will come back to.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    An interesting character study. Seriously, every person in this story is interesting to me. They all have flaws, and are also likeable in their own ways. Well rounded characters will always keep me reading, and this book did not disappoint when it came to character development. I also liked the contrast of art and politics, and the glimpses into the inner workings of both worlds. This is one of those books where you may get annoyed if you have to put it down and go do something else. It just kind An interesting character study. Seriously, every person in this story is interesting to me. They all have flaws, and are also likeable in their own ways. Well rounded characters will always keep me reading, and this book did not disappoint when it came to character development. I also liked the contrast of art and politics, and the glimpses into the inner workings of both worlds. This is one of those books where you may get annoyed if you have to put it down and go do something else. It just kind of reels you in, and you will want to keep reading.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Minion Reviews

    There have been a lot of books and movies that deal with interracial issues, but there is a lot more to Arrangement in Black and White than that. The artistry, of subject matter and literary talent, weaves quite a hypnotic web and I was drawn right into the world of Margy. She is a fantastic, multi-layered character with needs and desires that aren’t all aspirational, but her foibles make for an even more interesting read and greater depth of humanity. My first read of a Misurella book and now an There have been a lot of books and movies that deal with interracial issues, but there is a lot more to Arrangement in Black and White than that. The artistry, of subject matter and literary talent, weaves quite a hypnotic web and I was drawn right into the world of Margy. She is a fantastic, multi-layered character with needs and desires that aren’t all aspirational, but her foibles make for an even more interesting read and greater depth of humanity. My first read of a Misurella book and now and I’m going right on to another. Definitely give this one a go!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Pinkgreen

    I received this book through the Goodreads First Reads Program. First I should say that I lost all the notes I took throughout my reading (which is incredibly frustrating) so this won't be a super in depth review. So, as my star rating indicates, I really liked this book. I found it quite fascinating and I particularly enjoyed the array of flawed characters that were presented to me. Their psychologies were very interesting. Margy, the main character, is a real enigma whose way of thinking and r I received this book through the Goodreads First Reads Program. First I should say that I lost all the notes I took throughout my reading (which is incredibly frustrating) so this won't be a super in depth review. So, as my star rating indicates, I really liked this book. I found it quite fascinating and I particularly enjoyed the array of flawed characters that were presented to me. Their psychologies were very interesting. Margy, the main character, is a real enigma whose way of thinking and reactions don't always make sense and whom you can only begin to understand once you've reached the end. The whole mystery of her is enhanced by the clever time structure, which includes several well placed, lengthy flashbacks. Her relationship with Everet, which is a big part of the story, is also one of the strong points. It's not typical, or romantic, or even something to be rooting for. And yet I always looked forward to their next scenes, which were always captivating and often surprising. The writing style is solid and to the point. I really enjoyed the flow of it although I did find that the dialogues were a bit of a weak spot. Overall, it's the kind of story that explores many themes and lingers in your mind after you're done experiencing it. I would recommend it to all my friends if any of them liked to read, which is sadly not the case. I would definitely read another book from this author.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Katherine Parsons

    Arrangement in Black and White is a compelling story of trauma, conflict, and resolution. By far the greatest strength of this novel is the multidimensional presentation of the two main characters - a couple defined by their racial and cultural differences, their respective capacities for real emotional connection and their fluctuating, precarious circumstances. This is not a couple carelessly stereotyped or typewritten by the author, but come across as real as one could ever hope. I did find th Arrangement in Black and White is a compelling story of trauma, conflict, and resolution. By far the greatest strength of this novel is the multidimensional presentation of the two main characters - a couple defined by their racial and cultural differences, their respective capacities for real emotional connection and their fluctuating, precarious circumstances. This is not a couple carelessly stereotyped or typewritten by the author, but come across as real as one could ever hope. I did find that occasionally the dialogue itself was a little strained, and some comments felt shoehorned in for various reasons. Also, while much of the novel did handle various types of injustice and real-life instances of inequality, there were also many casual allusions to sexism that went unacknowledged. The author's deft handling of race and trauma seems not to extend to gender. Overall a great read.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Book Blast

    This is an unflinching novel that paints an all too unpleasant picture of a chaotic and dysfunctional life. It tells the story of central character, Margy, through vignettes detailing distinct periods of her life and chronicling her many trials. Misurella opens the novel with a quote by poet, William Carlos Williams - "The business of love is cruelty which, by our wills we transform to live together." This is an aptly chosen statement, setting the tone of the story which follows. ‘Arrangement in B This is an unflinching novel that paints an all too unpleasant picture of a chaotic and dysfunctional life. It tells the story of central character, Margy, through vignettes detailing distinct periods of her life and chronicling her many trials. Misurella opens the novel with a quote by poet, William Carlos Williams - "The business of love is cruelty which, by our wills we transform to live together." This is an aptly chosen statement, setting the tone of the story which follows. ‘Arrangement in Black and White’ is dramatic, tense and unsettling but nevertheless draws the reader into the life of Margy and those around her. Misurella gives detailed accounts of Margy’s life as a child, in her twenties and also her thirties, struggling with repeated patterns of conflict. This is not an easy read but it is all too believable, dealing as it does with race, violence and the nastier side of sex.

  21. 4 out of 5

    ReReadables

    If you like the novels of Jonathan Franzen, I can almost guarantee that you will enjoy Arrangement in Black and White from Fred Misurella. Contemporary fiction does not come much finer than this truly engrossing story of an interracial couple and they find themselves drifting apart. Margy's husband Everet has decided to make the move from Civil Right Law to Politics, and she does not see herself as the wife of a politician. She is a troubled and free-spirited artist who feels like her husband do If you like the novels of Jonathan Franzen, I can almost guarantee that you will enjoy Arrangement in Black and White from Fred Misurella. Contemporary fiction does not come much finer than this truly engrossing story of an interracial couple and they find themselves drifting apart. Margy's husband Everet has decided to make the move from Civil Right Law to Politics, and she does not see herself as the wife of a politician. She is a troubled and free-spirited artist who feels like her husband doesn't see her life and career having as much value of her own. This leads to many bitter arguments, which may just cause their relationship and lives implode. The characters and their struggles are so believable and relatable. You can sense how each character is feeling, and how events from their pasts have affected their present and potentially their future. Arrangement in Black and White is an accomplished novel.

  22. 5 out of 5

    High Light

    As contemporary fiction goes, it is hard to get much better than Arrangement in Black and White by Fred Misurella. It is far more than a novel that explores racial issues in the modern age, but how it is the differences that go far beneath the surface of the skin that can cause conflict and turmoil in relationships. The plot focuses on an interracial couple that find themselves moving in completely different directions in their lives. One has political ambitions and the other is a lot more free-s As contemporary fiction goes, it is hard to get much better than Arrangement in Black and White by Fred Misurella. It is far more than a novel that explores racial issues in the modern age, but how it is the differences that go far beneath the surface of the skin that can cause conflict and turmoil in relationships. The plot focuses on an interracial couple that find themselves moving in completely different directions in their lives. One has political ambitions and the other is a lot more free-spirited, not your typical politicians wife. In fact Margy has a problem with powerful men, following abuse in her past at the hands of men who held power over her. Can such opposing forces be brought back together? A great read that draws you in and really makes you think.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Fragrant Vagrant

    Arrangement in Black and White by Fred Misurella is such a complex, moving, and at times frustrating novel, which shows the descriptive powers of the author. Wit his words he is really able to manipulate your emotions through his protagonists Everet and Margy, a married couple facing a crossroads. As an artist, Margy seems to be the complete opposite of her serious husband, who is making a move into politics. Perhaps this is why she often finds herself in the arms of other men, or that could hav Arrangement in Black and White by Fred Misurella is such a complex, moving, and at times frustrating novel, which shows the descriptive powers of the author. Wit his words he is really able to manipulate your emotions through his protagonists Everet and Margy, a married couple facing a crossroads. As an artist, Margy seems to be the complete opposite of her serious husband, who is making a move into politics. Perhaps this is why she often finds herself in the arms of other men, or that could have been the result of her troubled upbringing and abuse at the hands of men. To me Margy was a character that felt the need to have power over men, as sort of a coping mechanism for her troubled past. When her husband actively pursues a position of power, perhaps it made Margy feel weaker, leading to such trouble in their relationship. There is definitely an opportunity to draw your own conclusion to the motivation of the characters thanks to flashbacks, and I just loved this thought-provoking element to the book. Fantastic read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Space Cop

    This story does a great job of taking a complex social circumstance and doing it in way that ties the humanity behind the different backgrounds together. Margy and Everet are two very different people brought together through love. Just how different they come to a head when their careers start pulling each other away. This story isn't so much about racial diversity (an interracial couple) as much as it is about the diversity of character and persons, and how that can strain any relationship. Th This story does a great job of taking a complex social circumstance and doing it in way that ties the humanity behind the different backgrounds together. Margy and Everet are two very different people brought together through love. Just how different they come to a head when their careers start pulling each other away. This story isn't so much about racial diversity (an interracial couple) as much as it is about the diversity of character and persons, and how that can strain any relationship. The entire story is about opposites (as the title may imply) that are brought together to show us what's important and what matters most in our lives. It's a great read, and I'm glad to have found such a rich and fantastic book. The writing, the story, the characters...all solid pieces of art that the author should be very proud of. Misurella's work is definitely a hidden gem.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Julie Barrett

    Arrangement in Black and White by Fred Misurella Starts with other works by the author. Acknowledgements and poem for dedications. Story starts and then moves 30 years ahead, then back in time and we learn all the hidden secrets of the molestation and abuse. Like when she's able to travel but decides she can make a living painting but also has a clerks job and then turns to prostitution. Then story goes back to the molestation and understanding the mother's position as she wants time to do things she Arrangement in Black and White by Fred Misurella Starts with other works by the author. Acknowledgements and poem for dedications. Story starts and then moves 30 years ahead, then back in time and we learn all the hidden secrets of the molestation and abuse. Like when she's able to travel but decides she can make a living painting but also has a clerks job and then turns to prostitution. Then story goes back to the molestation and understanding the mother's position as she wants time to do things she wants to do. Father wants to campaign and it takes a lot of exposure goes to events and meetings so others can learn about the people in the race for the government position. Racism is broached and some think it's a key point as to their existence. I received this review copy from the author and this is my honest opinion.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Eleanor Luhar

    I received the opportunity to read this book in return for my review earlier this year. Unfortunately, health issues and school work have caused a huge delay in the posting of this review. But here it is now! As usual, I didn't know anything about the book before I read it. I love the sense of surprise and uncertainty. This managed to be extremely unexpected, in my opinion. It really was nothing like I expected - and I didn't even have any expectations. This novel jumps back and forth across the t I received the opportunity to read this book in return for my review earlier this year. Unfortunately, health issues and school work have caused a huge delay in the posting of this review. But here it is now! As usual, I didn't know anything about the book before I read it. I love the sense of surprise and uncertainty. This managed to be extremely unexpected, in my opinion. It really was nothing like I expected - and I didn't even have any expectations. This novel jumps back and forth across the timeline quite frequently, but the main body of it takes place during Margy Winters' adulthood and married life with Everet Hamilton. Margy is white, and Everet is black. This is quite a key aspect to the novel. Everet is also considering running for Mayor. Margy isn't so keen on this idea, and their marriage is becoming increasingly strained. Margy's rage finally erupts, and she stabs her husband with a letter opener, before fleeing. She then runs away with a fellow art student (who is far younger than herself) for a few days. I'm not going to continue outlining the plot; it's quite complicated, and I don't want to spoil anything. But we see Margy attempt to patch her life together, while recalling memories both wonderful and horrific. She describes her time in Paris, where she ran away from her parents, and her past relationships with several men. She also describes her childhood and her strained relationship with her mother, who has a few mental health issues. My only real criticism of this book is that I didn't quite feel anything, really. There was a lack of emotion, especially from Margy herself. I frequently found myself confused and unsure of whether her situation was a comedic one or a serious one. The most intriguing part of this novel for me was Margy's recollection of Paris. Her encounters were extremely interesting, and her relationship with Josef especially was full of suspense. However, I still felt that strange lack of emotion, which made it a bit hard to really follow at times. Overall, this was a very fascinating and enjoyable novel. It tackled the huge issue of racism, especially in the past, very effectively. 3.5 stars.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gayle Slagle

    I found Arrangement in Black and White by Fred Misurella to be a huge disappointment. The reason I found it to be such a huge disappointment was because the prologue was so well written and interesting that I could hardly wait to read the rest of the book, only to find that the promise of a great novel simply did not materialize. The book certainly has many redeeming features and the author demonstrates that he has the ability to write amazing lines. However, I feel that the main fault of this b I found Arrangement in Black and White by Fred Misurella to be a huge disappointment. The reason I found it to be such a huge disappointment was because the prologue was so well written and interesting that I could hardly wait to read the rest of the book, only to find that the promise of a great novel simply did not materialize. The book certainly has many redeeming features and the author demonstrates that he has the ability to write amazing lines. However, I feel that the main fault of this book is that there are too many story lines. Margy, the main character, is never fully developed. From the prologue, the reader knows of the harrowing, destructive childhood that Margy endured. However, I feel that Misurella should have incorporated the reasons for Margy's often self-destructive behavior in a more convincing way. I felt that the relationship between Margy and her husband Everette was somewhat unrealistic and that often my sympathy was for Everette instead of Margy. Perhaps Misurella intended it to be this way, but I feel that he did not do a thorough job of presenting the reasons for the problems in the marriage. I also did not feel that the relationship between Margy and her son was believable or understandable. Margy's actions, especially her many affairs, do not seem to me to be explained by her background. As I said the book was a disappointment because I feel that Misurella has the ability to be a great writer. My advice: sometimes less is more and I feel that this book would have been vastly improved had the author continued in the same stark vein with which he started. Come on, Mr. Marsella, I will be looking for that great book from you one day.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Joy

    It was very different. The characters all had an aura of sadness about them. I wanted to know more about Margy's mother. Why was she so hateful. I enjoyed the book and would be interested in reading more from the author.

  29. 4 out of 5

    V

    For a goodreads first read it was ok. Not something I probably would have picked up otherwise and wasn't what I had expected but it was a god story. Kind of hard to keep all the story lines straight if you didn't read it for a while. It didn't take long to get back into it

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    The publisher provided me with the opportunity to read this in exchange for providing feedback. (via NetGalley) I really didn't like any of the characters and I had a hard time getting into this one. The author wrote well; it just wasn't for me.

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