A Novel by John Vialet
About the Book
Grafton House, a Harvard research center located in a Newport, RI mansion, is hosting a conference on international immigration policy on a Fourth of July weekend. The stories of academics, lovers, hapless criminals Newport police and others whose lives are touched by the conference are woven together by a benevolent narrator:
Dr. Anettka Gardiner is a young Pakistani labor economist married to Paul Gardiner, a much older businessman who spends most of his time in Paris. Anettka is flirting with the charismatic Deputy Director. Dr. Suleiman Khan, a famous Pakistani economist, dislikes Anettka because she is openly hostile to Islam.
Dr. Phoebe Snow is investigating allegations that the center favors foreign staff. She has discovered she is pregnant after ending a long affair, and falls in love with a reporter covering the conference.
Tobie Shaw, who manages the center’s antiquated computer system, was inadvertently responsible for the death of an ex-boyfriend in a botched robbery by Fat Willie and George Rakylz who are in Newport and want Tobie’s help. George, a batshit crazy MIT grad student, is planning a terrorist attack on Grafton House. This brings in the Newport Police Department and culminates in an explosive conference.