Joyce Carol Oates is an excellent writer and does a great job pulling you into this story of a murdered woman and two families that fall apart. I think she shows just how complicated and destructive family relationships can be. What I think is most interesting is how Oates’ main characters still cling to the idea of family, despite their estrangement.
I have seen criticism of her writing style, saying it’s too repetitive and rambling. In this story, I think maybe she’s trying to show the way her characters are processing their thoughts and trying to cope by repeating themselves, a very human behavior.
I was a little frustrated with the ending, not quite believing that Krissy would be satisfied with what is revealed. I also did not fully buy into the attraction between Krissy and Aaron.
This is not a nice story. It’s often twisted, ugly, violent and depressing. But I liked it anyway because it made me think about and cheer for the characters, hoping they would find a way to happiness. It’s a hard read, though, and now I want to read something to make me laugh.
Oates can be difficult to read because of her intensity, but I appreciate the depth of her characters and I always come back for more.
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