|Author:||Joyce Carol Oates|
Unflinching and unforgettable, devastating in its impact, Joyce Carol Oate’s fictional journey into the mind of paroled sex offender Quentin P. provides a psychologically astute portrait of the way cold calculation and dark obsession combine in a serial killer.
A hero who gets into the mind of a serial killer is a fixture of television crime shows, but such stories are usually disappointing, because the viewer knows it’s just a gimmick. Not so with this unusual little novel, which The New York Times called a “note-perfect, horror-comic ventriloquization of a half-bright, infantile serial killer.” Joyce Carol Oates has so convincingly written through the voice of a killer, you will feel nervous while reading at how familiar, how human, he is. Part of how she achieves the effect is through sparing use of bizarre capitalization (e.g., “MOON” and “FRAGMENT”) and crude drawings done with a felt-tip pen. But the language is what makes it come alive, as in such weird statements as “My whole body is a numb tongue.” This book was winner of the 1996 Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel.