'A writer of extraordinary strengths' Guardian Set in the mythical small city of Sparta, New York, this searing, vividly rendered exploration of the mysterious conjunction of erotic romance and tragic violence in late 20th-century America. When a young wife and mother named Zoe Kruller is found brutally murdered, the Sparta police target two ...Read More'A writer of extraordinary strengths' Guardian Set in the mythical small city of Sparta, New York, this searing, vividly rendered exploration of the mysterious conjunction of erotic romance and tragic violence in late 20th-century America. When a young wife and mother named Zoe Kruller is found brutally murdered, the Sparta police target two primary suspects: her estranged husband Delray and her longtime lover Eddy Diehl. In turn, the Krullers's son Aaron and Eddy's daughter Krista become obsessed with one another, each believing the other's father is guilty. Told in halves in the very different voices of Krista and Aaron, Little Bird of Heaven is classic Joyce Carol Oates, in which the lyricism of intense sexual love is intertwined with the anguish of loss, and tenderness is barely distinguishable from cruelty. By the novel's end, the fated lovers, meeting again as adults, are at last ready to exorcise the ghosts of the past and come to terms with their legacy of guilt, misplaced love and redemptive yearning. With Little Bird of Heaven, Joyce Carol Oates once again confirms her place as one of the most outstanding writers at work today.Read Less
In the time it will take me to write this, Joyce Carol Oates will have written twenty or so more books. Imagine how much she could get done if she didn't ramble so much. There's a lot of good in here, though. But I'd rather read some Hemingway stories again.
Publishers Weekly, 2009-07-20 Beneath the Sturm und Drang of Oates's third book of 2009 is the archetypal fairy tale: beauty and the beast. The beauties are the narrator, Krista Diehl, and Zoe Kruller, a waitress and singer who was murdered in Sparta, N.Y., in 1983. The beasts are the men, most notably Krista's father, Eddy, who, as Zoe's lover, is suspected in her murder, and Aaron Kruller, who discovers his mother's body and grows up repressing the thought that his father might have killed her. While the women are torn between attraction to the men and the need to escape them, the men must eventually be blooded, psychically and, in Eddy's case, physically. Eddy starts out a predator, with "tufts of animal-hair" sticking out of his undershirt, and ends up at the wrong end of a barrage of police bullets. While Zoe's murder and Eddy's suicide-by-cop five years later are the story's anchors, the heart of this novel is how Krista and Aaron are drawn together, however briefly. Oates unfolds the central gothic intuition-that beauty and the beast are complements-in a way that Charlotte Bronte would highly approve. (Sept.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
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