The grandson of Eunice Hunton Carter tells the remarkable story of his grandmother's unlikely transcendence of racial barriers to be appointed to the New York City special prosecutor’s office, where she helped bring down the gangster Lucky Luciano in 1936.
Carter’s portrayal of his grandmother is full of love and admiration, though it sometimes tips into overt speculation about her thoughts and emotions ... Mercifully, Invisible escapes hagiography in favor of cleareyed portraiture, even when matters don’t fit comfortably into it. This is especially true when Carter chronicles the fissures in her marriage...and the deep estrangement between Eunice and her brother, which was not fully repaired by the time both died, within 10 days of each other. A keen sense of loss permeates the book, grief for a ruptured family whose members could not be reconciled ... Struggle demands nuance. Truthful narratives demand complexity. Stephen L. Carter has revived his grandmother’s voice when we most need it, and with utmost urgency.
In Invisible, Yale law professor and bestselling author Stephen L. Carter meticulously details his grandmother’s accomplishments and her disappointments. His admiration for this remarkable woman is infectious. Ultimately, the reader is forced to ask, 'What if?' What if Hunton Carter had lived in a world where race and gender were irrelevant? What else would she have accomplished? And what would we have gained?
The meaty machinations of how the mobsters were finally brought to trial... are tailor-made for a Hollywood biopic. And Eunice’s fractured relationship with her brother Alphaeus, who graduated from Harvard, joined the Communist Party and served time in prison for contempt of court, is equally gripping ... But other, less dramatic aspects of Invisible drew my interest ... Indeed, Carter has a touch of wistfulness over the self-contained world of blacks, victims of a uniform anti-black sentiment, yet undeniably, defiantly proud of who they are ... Carter’s description of those odds [the black community is up against] is riveting.