• The Last Integrationist
  • by Jake Lamar
  • (1996)
  • Grand Prix de Cognac Foreign Thriller
  • The Last Integrationist has been translated
    into French as Nous avions un rêve.

The Last Integrationist is a first novel of extraordinary power, a compelling story with wonderful characters that explores aspects of race relations that most Americans are afraid to discuss.

Jake Lamar sets his story in the near future -- a time close at hand. America's war against drugs and crime has resulted in harsh restrictions and public executions. The prime mover in this war is Attorney General Melvin Hutchinson, a brilliant black lawyer and staunch conservative who as a judge was dubbed "Hang 'Em High Hutch." Melvin Hutchinson is on the fast track to a vice-presidential nomination, but he has a potentially explosive secret.

And then there is Emma Person, a talented photographer who is having a difficult time understanding her Jewish boyfriend's insensitivity and his mother's hatred. Emma's black friends place demands on her that she struggles against, finding herself trapped between two warring camps -- white and black -- instinctively resisting the rigid definitions of both.

Emma's story and Melvin's are told against the background of a country roiled by anger and hatred, a country that seems to have lost its soul while blacks and whites try to find a way to live together or apart.

  • Reviews
  • "A fearless young talent to keep your eye on."
  • --Entertainment Weekly
  • "An epic tale about America and its hideously disfigured notions on race. Set in the near future and peopled by a vast yet intimately drawn cast of characters, The Last Integrationist is by turns boldly inventive, darkly prophetic, wildly funny, and, in the end, deeply moving -- a meditation on the human heart's struggle to overcome the forces that would divide us. Like Dr. Strangelove, it feels visionary, and lingers in the mind like a haunting, unforgettable dream."
  • --Darcy Frey, author of The Last Shot
  • "The Last Integrationist hurls you into the funny and frightening Twilight Zone of reading next week's headlines today."
  • --Trey Ellis, author of Platitudes and Home Repairs
  • "A compelling, controversial political thriller, part A Clockwork Orange, part The Manchurian Candidate."
  • --Kirkus Reviews
  • "A crackling page-turner...Jake Lamar has produced a thriller of ideas.... A kind of racial 1984."
  • --Jacob Weisberg, Vogue Magazine

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