17 August 2008

My Sister, My Love

by Joyce Carol Oates

Along the same lines as Black Water and Blonde. It's a roman à clé (Dr. Voss would be so proud of me for retaining that term of art!), so basically, I believe that this just means that Ms. Oates has something to say about this particular subject matter, and she'd just as soon not get sued for libel or defamation, or whatever.

So anyway, the plot is about the fall-out of the Christmastime murder of a child ice-skating prodigy, and is told from the point of view of her older brother, who, because of the attention his sister attracted, was largely ignored by parents and schoolmates alike, both before and after the murder, and was briefly a suspect in her death. Perhaps this sounds familiar (subtract ice skating and insert childhood beauty pagents and ta-da! JonBenet Ramsey, anyone?).

The book is fairly raw and holds very little back. It's a satisfying read, but you feel a little squirmy and voyeuristic as you're reading it (this is true of every Oates novel I've read, though). And it maybe goes on a little long. But all in all, it's a fantastic book...truthfully, I've never been dissatisfied with anything I've read by Joyce Carol Oates.

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