Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Black Water by Joyce Carol Oates (Book Review)


Title: Black Water
Author: Joyce Carol Oates
Genre: Fiction
First sentence: The rented Toyota, driven with such impatient exuberance by The Senator, was speeding along the unpaved, unnamed road, taking the turns in giddy skidding slides, and then, with no warning, somehow the car had gone off the road and had overturned in black rushing water, listing to its passenger's side, rapidly sinking. (Wow, that has to be the longest first sentence!)

Joyce Carol Oates has taken the Chappaquiddick incident and evolved it into this bold novel set in the 1990's. For me, it did not bring the focus on the tragedy of the car crash and innocent death, but rather on how quickly your mind covers ground and how many different thoughts you can have in the space of a few moments. In the time that Kelly has, as the car is filling up with black water, we visit most of her life, but mostly the last few years.

She does remember a memory as a little girl with her grandpa, but it seems as if she is reliving all those moments - those choices - that brought led her to being in The Senator's car at that particular moment. "She was the one he had chosen."

I have had two near death experiences, where I actually stopped breathing, and I can vividly remember those things that I was thinking right before I went out, and it wasn't anything like Kelly was thinking - but at the time, I did not think that dying was a possibility. I believe this is because when we are young, we tend to believe that we are immortal. So Kelly, being in her 20's, kept hanging on to the hope that there was someone coming to get her out of the car - she even thought she saw them through the windshield, or felt them pulling on the door handle.

I can't say that I enjoyed this book - due to it's nature, but is was definitely thought provoking and wonderfully written!

5 comments:

Staci said...

I've read Joyce Carol Oates in the past but I can honestly say I've not heard of this book. The premise sounds great and I think I may enjoy it as I do like her writing style. Thanks for bringing this book to my attention!

J. Kaye said...

I'm one of the rare readers who avoids this writer. I'm put off by her writing style. Great review though.

Anna said...

For me, Oates is hit or miss. This one sounds interesting, though.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Rebecca said...

I just read about this book the other day. It sounds very interesting. You are right, what a first sentence! :)

Lorin said...

I saw your comment on Trish's post about JCO's Rape: A Love Story and thought I'd check out what you thought about this one. Its been a long time since I've read it, so I don't remember all the particulars, but I remember being very moved and challenged by it. That's kind of how I feel about most of the JCO books I've read.

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