The scene is Grayling Island off the coast of Maine, where a young woman meets a Senator at a Fourth of July beach party. As the afternoon slips into evening, the two move unaware towards a shattering appointment with destiny - for it is not love but death that awaits the young woman Kelly.The scene is Grayling Island off the coast of Maine, where a young woman meets a Senator at a Fourth of July beach party. As the afternoon slips into evening, the two move unaware towards a shattering appointment with destiny - for it is not love but death that awaits the young woman Kelly.Read Less
Terrifying, suffocating, disturbing. And frankly left a disturbing taste in my mouth for several days after (unpleasant enough that I can't really give it 5 stars). Anyone looking to liberate their death (and/or meaninglessness of life) anxiety - look no farther!
Jul 31, 2008
Drowning in Words
The question at the heart of Black Water is not whether Kelly, the young passenger on an ill-fated ride with a senator, will live or die; it's more a matter of how she ended up there in the first place. The text becomes repetitive at parts and certain refrains appear over and over in the book until I almost felt like I was being bogged down along with the young woman. The "contemporary" allusions and references are all now, of course, dated and somewhat lost, but the story still resonates, because there is still something that attracts people to powerful elected officials. And interesting read, and the slim volume is well worth the effort.
Publishers Weekly, 1993-03-29 In a plot shocking for its blatant familiarity, a figure identified as The Senator tipsily drives a young woman away from a party and off of a dock.A two-week PW bestseller and a BOMC selection in cloth, this novella is gripping and hallucinatory. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 1992-03-09 ``You would not choose to drown, to die . . . trapped together in a sinking car, with a stranger,'' a narrator observes about the fate of Kelly Kelleher, heroine of Oates's ( Because It Is Bitter and Because It Is My Heart ) gripping and hallucinatory novella. In a plot shocking for its blatant familiarity, a figure identified as The Senator tipsily drives a young woman away from a Fourth of July party, veers off a dock and plunges the car into dank water, where he deserts her and she drowns, a chastely wrapped condom still in her Laura Ashley purse. Brief chapters, some taut as prose poems, sink into Kelly's past (she had hoped to help him campaign for the presidency) and then surge forward. Ebbing and rising like the engulfing waters, the narrative, too, swallows her in its finale. Returning to the theme of Death and the Maiden (the picture hangs on a wall in American Appetites , and the phrase was the original title of her classic short story ``Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?''), Oates here extracts a deeper, more terrible meaning. Kelly feels ``chosen,'' having long ago fallen under the sway of Politics and Eros as incarnated by the treacherous Senator, on whom she based her college honors thesis. The author chillingly augments her scrutiny of the tainted American official by incorporating statements about capital punishment by current legalists. Oates is at the top of her stunning form. 50,000 first printing; BOMC selection; author tour. (May)
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