Following the breakout success of his previous novel, "Freeman," Leonard Pitts, Jr. returns with an even more complex, suspenseful, and intricate story that takes on the past 45 years of US race relations through the stories of two veteran journalists, a superstar black columnist and his unsung white editor. "Grant Park" is a page-turning and provocative look at black and white relations in contemporary America, blending the absurd and the poignant in a powerfully well-crafted narrative that showcases Pitts's gift for telling emotionally wrenching stories.
"Grant Park" begins in 1968, with Martin Luther King's final days in Memphis. The story then moves to the eve of the 2008 presidential election, and cuts back and forth between the two eras as it unfolds. Disillusioned and weary, columnist Malcolm Toussaint, fueled by yet another report of unarmed black men gunned down by police, hacks into his newspaper's computer system to post an incendiary column that had been rejected by his editors. Toussaint then disappears, and his longtime editor, Bob Carson, is summarily fired within hours of the column's publication.
While a furious Carson tries to find Toussaint--at the same time dealing with the reappearance of a lost love from his days as a 60s peace activist--Toussaint is abducted by two improbable but still-dangerous white supremacists plotting to explode a bomb at Obama's planned rally in Grant Park. As Election Day unfolds, Toussaint and Carson are forced to remember the choices they made as idealistic, impatient young men, when both their lives were changed profoundly by their work in the civil rights movement. Forty years later, they are handed a bizarre opportunity to make peace with their respective pasts.
"Grant Park" is an audacious and eloquent take on politics, race, and history, and yet another demonstration that Pitts, beyond his identity as a lauded journalist, has emerged as an important voice in contemporary American fiction.