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Visits from the Drowned Girl by Steven…
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Visits from the Drowned Girl (2004)

by Steven Sherrill

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Showing 5 of 5
My love of this book unfortunately rapidly fell away in the last few chapters where it seemed to peter out to a 'nothing' of an ending, leaving me SO disappointed because I was easily going to be giving it 5 stars until then.

Steven Sherrill's writing is just beautiful, it really wraps itself around you and makes you grab onto his words, but then, about three quarters into the book, it just seems to change and characters that you've found yourself endeared to suddenly seem to act out of character entirely (and coldly)- it almost feels as if the author has become bored and has given up. I didn't see the point of the ending - it seemed wishy washy and didn't really say anything.

My 4 star rating is probably being generous considering the latter part of the book, but my strong love for the majority of it has overridden the negatives.

I'll be interested to read the author's other works. ( )
  DandelionClock | Apr 1, 2013 |
I found this book very unpleasant to read. The POV character, a professional tower climber who at the beginning of the book witnesses a girl videotape her own suicide by drowning, is simply unlikeable in every possible way. He becomes obsessed with the drowned girl, and steals her things without reporting her death to the police. Then he tracks down her family using some very basic detective work, and for the next several months watches their anguish at not knowing what has happened to their daughter and sister. He dates the dead girl’s midget sister and plays one cruel, anonymous prank after another on her, never showing the slightest bit of feeling for her. The portrait of small-town North Carolina life given in this novel is bleak and hopeless, a series of pointless tragedies and random cruelties, where every human being lacks even common decency. There is no reason to like these people, their world or this book.

Read due to the North Carolina connection and because I found a signed copy in a bookstore (2005). ( )
  sturlington | Feb 24, 2012 |
Visits From the Drowned Girl is the follow-up to another favourite of mine, The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break (a deserving favourite, if only for that wonderful title!) Sherrill is a wonderful writer and he writes the kind of books that defy description. I must admit Minotaur, for its sheer bravery in so seamlessly blending the very different genres of contemporary lit and Greek myth, remains my favourite, but this story of a man who witnesses (at long distance) a young woman's suicide and sets about finding out who she is and what led to her death is an intriguing story told in Sherrill's own very individual style and I'd highly recommend it. ( )
  Booksloth | Nov 20, 2008 |
I do not need to “like” the main characters in the books I read, but I do need to be able to believe in them. I am not really attracted to books about people like me, (I lead a pretty boring life, really, and I don’t particularly want to read about the way someone else is living it). I like to be challenged by a story. I like to have my applecart upset. If I find myself reacting strongly to a character—good or bad—I know that the author has done her job, and written a good book. I may not convince anyone else to try reading it, but by god, I am glad I have read it.

Which brings me to Steven Sherrill, one of my pet favorite authors whose books are, well, difficult to convince people to buy. The first book, The Minotaur takes a Cigarette Break, was about a Greek myth that happened to be living in central North Carolina, working as a fry-cook. Not exactly your usual cup of tea but it was a beautifully written story about the isolation we all feel from those around us. Sherrill’s newest novel is called Visits from the Drowned Girl (Random House; $24.95, hardcover/$13.95, trade paperback), and it was fantastic. I don’t know if I’ll convince anyone else to read it and find that out, but I think it is one of the most complex and disturbing stories I’ve read this year. . .read full review
  southernbooklady | Jun 20, 2007 |
Probably not as good as The Minotaur Takes A Cigarette Break, but worth reading. ( )
  rich | Nov 23, 2006 |
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For Maude, always
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Benny Poteat has seen a lot of THINGS.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812970888, Paperback)

Benny Poteat is, among other things, a tower jockey, his life defined by up or down. Working hundreds of feet in the air repairing tension lines and replacing burned-out lightbulbs, he observes the world from above.

Benny has seen a lot of things from this vantage point, but nothing can compare to watching a girl die. She approaches the river that snakes far below him, sets up a video camera, and walks purposefully into the rushing water, never to reappear. Startled at both what he’s witnessed and his inability to prevent it, Benny hurries down the tower to the scene of her death. What he does next will forever alter the course of his life: He does nothing. He gathers up the drowned girl’s belongings and doesn’t tell a soul what he saw.

Instead, Benny visits the address on a business card he finds in the drowned girl’s bag and slowly insinuates himself into the life she once lived. But even as he immerses himself in her world, he wonders: What does it mean to watch someone die? And what can explain his strange attraction to the drowned girl?

Through a labyrinth of rationalization and denial, Benny struggles to figure out who to tell and what to do, until it becomes not only impractical but truly impossible for him to ever reveal his secret, the burden of which soon becomes unbearable.

Visits from the Drowned Girl is a tale about the seductive but ultimately pernicious nature of secrecy. We are all voyeurs, to one degree or another. The question is, at what point do we become responsible for the things we see?


From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:43:44 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"Benny Poteat is, among other things, a tower jockey, his life defined by up or down. Working hundreds of feet in the air repairing tension lines and replacing burned-out lightbulbs, he observes the world from above." "Benny has seen a lot of things from this vantage point, but nothing can compare to watching a girl die. She approaches the river that snakes far below him, sets up a video camera, and walks purposefully into the rushing water, never to resurface. Startled at both what he's witnessed and his inability to prevent it, Benny hurries down the tower to the scene of her death. What he does next will forever alter the course of his life: He does nothing. He gathers up the drowned girl's belongings and doesn't tell a soul what he saw.". "Instead, Benny visits the address on a business card he finds in the drowned girl's bag and slowly insinuates himself into the life she once lived. But even as he immerses himself in her world, he wonders: What does it mean to watch someone die? And what can explain his strange attraction to the drowned girl?" "Through a labyrinth of rationalization and denial, Benny struggles to figure out whom to tell and what to do, until it becomes not only impractical but truly impossible for him to ever reveal his secret, the burden of which soon becomes unbearable."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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