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Little Bird of Heaven by [Oates, Joyce Carol]
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Little Bird of Heaven Kindle Edition

3.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Length: 450 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Review

"[This is] the novelist at her brooding best...a seamless, satisfying tale of small-town life where...the long-smoldering relationships among the residents can often be like "tangled roots, beneath the surface of the earth."' -- St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"Well-told and ultimately powerful." -- The Onion

Well-told and ultimately powerful. --The Onion

"[This novel] is classic Oates. Its depiction of violence, families falling from grace and social class disparities, as well as its location, recall her 1996 bestseller, WE WERE THE MULVANEYS. Fans of Oates will delight in this offering and newcomers to her work will receive a first-class introduction."--BookPage

"A powerful novel...In Sparta she has created a fictional universe to stand beside Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha County or Cheever's Shady Hill....Oates [is] our closest contemporary analogue to Hawthorne: lyrical, moral, unforgiving."--Washington Post

"Oates' 57th novel is a doozie....It's vintage Oates: tragic violence, outsize ambitions, dashed hopes, strained family bonds, manly-men roughing up sassy-yet-submissive women, and, of course, sex-crazed teenagers."--Elle

"An absorbing study of lust, trust, and an unsolved murder, Oates's gritty new mystery explores the attraction between the son of the victim and daughter of the accused."--Good Housekeeping

"In this narcotic, unnerving, brilliantly composed tale of the struggle for control over the body's archaic urges, and the quest for morality in a catastrophically corrupted world, Oates creates magnetic characters of heightened awareness and staggering valor."--Booklist

"'Quintessential Joyce Carol Oates: an expertly crafted, lovingly detailed character-driven novel of loss and longing. "--Associated Press

"Little Bird of Heaven starts with the urgency of thriller, then turns into something more existential as the years (and pages) go by...This is a tragedy on a classical scale...Oates has written a feminist novel with empathy for men, especially men without power, with no voice besides violence."--New York Times Book Review

"Well-told and ultimately powerful."--The Onion

"Readers are breathlessly along for the ride, never sure if Oates will let [her characters] reach redemption or have them fall prey to the hands of their violent, unforgiving upbringings."--New York Post

"[This novel]...has an unnerving clarity about the power of sexual desire...it cleaves to the mind like a strong memory, and after you've read it, you may find yourself dreaming about the imaginary town of Sparta, and wondering what the people are doing now."--Chicago Sun-Times

"[This is] the novelist at her brooding best . . . a seamless, satisfying tale of small-town life where...the long-smoldering relationships among the residents can often be like 'tangled roots, beneath the surface of the earth.'"--St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"Neither crime, nor punishment, the ultimate coupling in the novel serves as a triumph and a release on a scale and with the intensity we've come to expect from one of our country's premier writers."--NPR's All Things Considered

Neither crime, nor punishment, the ultimate coupling in the novel serves as a triumph and a release on a scale and with the intensity we ve come to expect from one of our country s premier writers. --NPR's All Things Considered"

Well-told and ultimately powerful. --The Onion"

Readers are breathlessly along for the ride, never sure if Oates will let [her characters] reach redemption or have them fall prey to the hands of their violent, unforgiving upbringings. --New York Post"

An absorbing study of lust, trust, and an unsolved murder, Oates s gritty new mystery explores the attraction between the son of the victim and daughter of the accused. --Good Housekeeping"

Oates 57th novel is a doozie....It s vintage Oates: tragic violence, outsize ambitions, dashed hopes, strained family bonds, manly-men roughing up sassy-yet-submissive women, and, of course, sex-crazed teenagers. --Elle"

In this narcotic, unnerving, brilliantly composed tale of the struggle for control over the body s archaic urges, and the quest for morality in a catastrophically corrupted world, Oates creates magnetic characters of heightened awareness and staggering valor. --Booklist"

[This novel] is classic Oates. Its depiction of violence, families falling from grace and social class disparities, as well as its location, recall her 1996 bestseller, WE WERE THE MULVANEYS. Fans of Oates will delight in this offering and newcomers to her work will receive a first-class introduction. --BookPage"

Little Bird of Heaven starts with the urgency of thriller, then turns into something more existential as the years (and pages) go by...This is a tragedy on a classical scale...Oates has written a feminist novel with empathy for men, especially men without power, with no voice besides violence. --New York Times Book Review"

[This novel]...has an unnerving clarity about the power of sexual desire...it cleaves to the mind like a strong memory, and after you ve read it, you may find yourself dreaming about the imaginary town of Sparta, and wondering what the people are doing now. --Chicago Sun-Times"

Quintessential Joyce Carol Oates: an expertly crafted, lovingly detailed character-driven novel of loss and longing. --Associated Press"

A powerful novel...In Sparta she has created a fictional universe to stand beside Faulkner s Yoknapatawpha County or Cheever s Shady Hill....Oates [is] our closest contemporary analogue to Hawthorne: lyrical, moral, unforgiving. --Washington Post"

[This is] the novelist at her brooding best . . . a seamless, satisfying tale of small-town life where...the long-smoldering relationships among the residents can often be like tangled roots, beneath the surface of the earth. --St. Louis Post-Dispatch"

Review

'The book is suffused with the grey, ambient unease in which Oates specialises; she's one of our creepiest writers, a kind of feminist Poe with a working-class sensibility' Guardian 'Another step in Oates's progress towards the title of Great American Novelist.' Independent 'There are!glimpses of brilliance, and Oates is sympathetic to the animals we all, at times, become' Daily Mail 'An absorbing study of lust, trust, and an unsolved murder, Oates's gritty new mystery explores the attraction between the son of the victim and daughter of the accused' Good Housekeeping 'Her prose is peerless and her ability to make you think as she re-invents genres is unique. Few writers move so effortlessly from the gothic tale to the psychological thriller to the epic family saga to the lyrical novella. Even fewer authors can so compellingly and entertainingly tell a story.' Jackie McGlone, Scotland on Sunday 'Novelists such as John Updike, Philip Roth, Tom Wolfe and Norman Mailer slug it out for the title of the Great American Novelist. But maybe they're wrong. Maybe, just maybe, the Great American Novelist is a woman.' Herald

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1056 KB
  • Print Length: 450 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (24 Dec. 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0031WHBYC
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #607,972 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Paperback
The basic storyline of `A little bird of heaven' is simple: a woman is murdered, who killed her. But this is not a `whodunit'. The story offers great opportunities to examine many different relationships during the time of crisis (and beyond) - mother/daughter, daughter/father, sister/ bother, son/father, son/mother. Joyce Carol Oates does this very well.
But why does she, unfortunately like numerous others, feel the need to make it confusing and difficult for the reader to follow? How? By flipping backward and forward in time, and by using language (words, constructions, punctuation) that requires multiple reading to understand. Do these authors do this to impress people? - certainly not this reader.
Some critics seem to be impressed (perhaps that's why it's done!) from the `wordbites' (extracts from newspaper reviews) on the cover:
"Disturbs and engages from the first page" - disturbs??
"She's one of our creepiest writers" - this book is not creepy.
"Lyrical, moral, unforgiving" - what in heaven does this mean??

Positive: a good story and exploration of the relationships (when you put all the disjointed parts together)

Negative: see above, plus verbose in many parts

I did have one big question at the end: why does Krista fall in love with Aaron?
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Format: Kindle Edition
The plot is straightforward enough. Zoe Kruller, a wife, a mother, a prostitute, is found brutally murdered. The police have two suspects: her estranged husband, Delray Kruller, and her lover, Eddy Diehl. Eddy Diehl, local wide boy and reprobate, is separated from his wife and family and is on a restraining order from seeing or approaching them. Diehl's daughter, Krista, and Kruller's son, Aaron, each believe the other's father is guilty. By the novel's end, the ill-fated lovers meet once more and seem finally ready to exorcise the ghosts of the past and come to terms with their legacy of guilt, misplaced love, and redemptive yearning. It is a deeply moving story.

I had a real problem with the delivery of this novel. Either Joyce Carol Oates or her publisher believes that the reader is incapable of understanding written prose and the text is plastered with their emphasis in italics. I can subscribe to that in the case of a performance work, where an author has a clear idea of how his or her work might transfer to stage or screen. As Lynne Truss succinctly put it in Eats, Shoots & Leaves, `Italics should be used sparingly for the purposes of emphasis - ...because they are a confession of stylistic failure'. That said, longevity is achieved when that initial author's intention is followed by others who discover alternative interpretations that find a receptive audience. Shaw was a stickler whilst alive, and no doubt Shakespeare had his own ideas, but their audience today is played to by those who can continue to find contemporary relevance and meaning in their work.

So, unfortunately, this dictatorial judgement and arrogance overshadowed my reading experience and ultimately spoilt the book. Joyce Carol Oates is a significant author of great merit, she just ought to appreciate she enjoys a significant readership with similar standing.
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