HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Black Water by Joyce Carol Oates
Loading...

Black Water

by Joyce Carol Oates

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
923439,474 (3.54)119
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 119 mentions

English (39)  Italian (2)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  All (43)
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
This is a re=imagining of the Chappaquiddick Incident in which a probably drunk Senator Ted Kennedy drove his car into a river, drowning his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne. According to the Wikipedia article, Senator Kennedy failed to call for help for nine hours after the accident and there is evidence that Mary Jo died of suffocation rather than drowning.

In this short novella the senator is only identified as ‘The Senator’, however his life details are quite clear, including the assassination of his brother Bobby. Mary Jo Kopechne is given the fictional name, Kelly Kelleher.

The story plays out from Kelly’s viewpoint as she is dying. She recalls her life, her growing beyond her parents, her decision to attend the swank party where she meets her political idol, The Senator. And finally her fatal decision to leave with him.
Beautifully written. Haunting and haunted. This is one I won’t forget for a long time. ( )
  streamsong | Sep 10, 2016 |
[Black Water] presents the life of a young woman as she re-experiences it in her dying moments. It's an interesting challenge for a writer. Kelly Kelleher is at an Independence Day party thrown by a friend, Buffy St. John, at Buffy's parents summer place on an island off the coast of Maine. A revered U.S. Senator appears as a surprise guest. Kelly is quite enthralled by him, and he seems to be taken with her. Though she's expecting to stay the night, The Senator, as he is referred to throughout the story, persuades her to take the ferry to the mainland with him. He has a room in a motel. Racing to the ferry, The Senator turns onto an unmarked gravel road, assuring Kelly it's a shortcut. But he's racing to the ferry, and he misjudges a turn, and their car plunges off a narrow bridge into a tidal channel.

You know the story, of course, because it's based on a 1969 accident in which a car driven by Senator Ted Kennedy plunged off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island, drowning his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne.

Rather than re-adjudicate that incident, author Joyce Carol Oates explores the thoughts of a young woman as she drowns. Her upbringing, her relationship with her parents (what will they think of her now?), her Catholic education, her jobs. Each vignette fades into her immediate peril: "As the black water rose around her, to fill her lungs." She's re-living her life, her friendship with Buffy, her past romances, her surprise that The Senator is attracted to her. As the car sinks into the stinking black water, Kelly tries to escape, grapples with The Senator as he too struggles to escape, then pleads to him to come back for her.

"She could hear him … somewhere above. The surface of the water was close above. There he moved cautiously in the shallows, he was diving, swimming to save her where she was trapped in the dark so she must guide him I'm here I'm here I'M HERE."

Excellent short book. It was a finalist for the 1993 Pulitzer Prize. I'll give it at least one thumb up.
  weird_O | Aug 4, 2016 |
Black Water by Joyce Carol Oates; (2 1/2*)

It took me a bit of time pondering this novella to bring myself to the point where I could put my thoughts & comments about it down on paper, so to speak.

I think Oates is a brilliant writer and I do believe that this book was written quite brilliantly. The prose is so very different from anything that I have ever read before. I even found the format & punctuation of the novella appropriate to the book & the story.

This slim volume, written in the voice & mind of a dead/dying girl, is based on the Chappaquiddick incident from 1969 involving Senator Ted Kennedy & his young colleague, Mary Jo Kopechne, who drowned on that night. It read a bit strange to me but I don't think that is due to the writing. I think it is due to the fact that I am a product of the sixties & recall the circumstances surrounding the real incident so well. I didn't realize this was what the book was about when I picked it up. I may not have read it had I known. But I am glad I read it.

However it did leave me feeling 'cold' just as the title suggests. ( )
2 vote rainpebble | Jun 9, 2016 |
A thinly disguised fictional retelling of the death of Mary Jo Kopechne in the car accident caused by Ted Kennedy. ( )
  ShelleyAlberta | Jun 4, 2016 |
Historical context makes this story interesting. Short story length would have gotten the point across however. ( )
  deldevries | Jan 31, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
for the Kellys --
First words
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.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0452269865, Paperback)

Joyce Carol Oates has taken a shocking story that has become an American myth and, from it, has created a novel of electrifying power and illumination. Kelly Kelleher is an idealistic, twenty-six-year-old “good girl” when she meets the Senator at a Fourth of July party. In a brilliantly woven narrative, we enter her past and her present, her mind and her body as she is fatally attracted to this older man, this hero, this soon-to-be-lover. Kelly becomes the very embodiment of the vulnerable, romantic dreams of bright and brave women, drawn to the power that certain men command—at a party that takes on the quality of a surreal nightmare; in a tragic car ride that we hope against hope will not end as we know it must end. One of the acknowledged masters of American fiction, Joyce Carol Oates has written a bold tour de force that parts the black water to reveal the profoundest depths of human truth.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:29 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Flattered by the attentions of a senator she has met at a Fourth of July beach party on Grayling Island, Kelly Kelleher accepts a ride from him, taking a first step toward her final confrontation with death.

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
17 avail.
61 wanted
2 pay3 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.54)
0.5 2
1 5
1.5 1
2 18
2.5 8
3 68
3.5 25
4 85
4.5 11
5 30

Audible.com

2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 110,835,129 books! | Top bar: Always visible