From the publisher:
A compulsively readable novel in the vein of The Bonfire of the Vanities—by way of The Nest—about what Washington, DC’s high society members do away from the Capitol building and behind the closed doors of their stately homes.
They are the families considered worthy of a listing in the exclusive Green Book—a discriminative diary created by the niece of Edith Roosevelt’s social secretary. Their aristocratic bloodlines are woven into the very fabric of Washington—generation after generation. Their old money and manner lurk through the cobblestone streets of Georgetown, Kalorama, and Capitol Hill. They only socialize within their inner circle, turning a blind eye to those who come and go on the political merry-go-round. These parents and their children live in gilded existences of power and privilege.
But what they have failed to understand is that the world is changing. And when the family of one of their own is held hostage and brutally murdered, everything about their legacy is called into question.
They’re called The Cave Dwellers.
McDowell’s debut novel (after her memoir, After Perfect) is a brutal, satirical look at life in Washington, D.C., and the author knows whereof she speaks; she grew up there. The catalyst for the story is the torture and brutal murder of a wealthy, power-wielding family, including their teenage daughter. One of her classmates is determined to get to some sort of understanding of what happened and why, and she goes to the jail to visit the young Black man who was arrested for the crime. It turns out his father was an employee of the family that was killed, and motive is quickly established. The wives of the most powerful families in the nation’s capital are all perturbed, but so are their children, the teenagers and private school classmates of the murdered girl. These are among the most privileged families in the country, and the satire here is deeply wounding; racism, misogyny, and class hierarchy are all fair game, and the irony is inescapable and delicious.
Verdict: A fascinating, gossipy glimpse into the lives of the 1% (with footnotes) that should appeal to readers who enjoyed The Assistants by Camille Perri or Capital Girls by Ella Monroe.
©Library Journal, 2021
5/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch
THE CAVE DWELLERS by Christina McDowell. Gallery/Scout Press (May 25, 2021). ISBN 978-1982132781. 352 pages.