Author: Joyce Carol Oates
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication: May 1, 1993
About the book
Joyce Carol Oates has taken a shocking story that has become an American myth and, from it, has created a novel of electrifying power and illumination. Kelly Kelleher is an idealistic, twenty-six-year-old good girl” when she meets the Senator at a Fourth of July party. In a brilliantly woven narrative, we enter her past and her present, her mind and her body as she is fatally attracted to this older man, this hero, this soon-to-be-lover. Kelly becomes the very embodiment of the vulnerable, romantic dreams of bright and brave women, drawn to the power that certain men command—at a party that takes on the quality of a surreal nightmare; in a tragic car ride that we hope against hope will not end as we know it must end. One of the acknowledged masters of American fiction, Joyce Carol Oates has written a bold tour de force that parts the black water to reveal the profoundest depths of human truth.
I really enjoyed reading this book. While it was actually a textbook for my class and used in discussions, I thought the style was interesting.
Things that I liked: I enjoyed reading about the main characters: The Senator and Kelly Kelleher. I thought it was an interesting story about death, faith, etc. I found at times that I felt like I could relate to Kelly at times during the novel. She is shy and quiet it seems, just like me. I liked that Oates would go along with the story but then use that as a flashback through Kelly’s thoughts as she was dying.
Things that I didn’t like: One of the things I noticed that was a problem (just a tiny one) was that the “flashbacks” sometimes were abrupt whereas other times it was not abrupt in switching between the story and what was actually going on in the car in Kelly’s mind as the water was rising.
Overall: I enjoyed reading this book. It was a quick read for me. I do want to go back and read more into at a later date but I did like it.