Friday, November 11, 2016
Book Review: Black Water by Joyce Carol Oates
Well, the mood was very wrong. Instead, it downplays all salacious elements of the original story, and there's no thriller aspects to it. Instead, nearly half the book is Kelly (the Mary Jo character), trapped in the car, with water rising, pondering her imminent death, and she hopes the Senator will come back or bring help. The book was very evocative, I could almost feel the murky black water myself, coming closer and closer, Kelly thought back to the party, to her childhood, to her parents. Most of the book is flashbacks. We also get the Senator's side, but less so.
I can see why this book was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Despite being kind of the opposite type of book I was looking for tonally, I couldn't put it down. I read it all in one day. It was chilling and sad and as the hope drained out of Kelly and out of the car, I really wished the ending would be different. The book of course wouldn't have been as powerful if it was, and it is interesting going into a book like this when you know the end from the start, and seeing how the author nonetheless manages suspense and tension. It was a great novel for anyone who likes their fiction dark and sad. Ms. Oates can sure write circle around anyone!
I bought this book at Montclair Book Center.