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Black Water by Joyce Carol Oates
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Black Water

by Joyce Carol Oates

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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. ( )
1 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 |
Black Water is a novelization of the Chappaquiddick incident, in which Senator Ted Kennedy drove into a pond and the young lady who was riding with him died. In the novel, The Senator is given no other name, and the whole event is shown through the eyes of his passenger (named Kelly in the book). The story is told through a series of flashbacks in Kelly’s mind while she is trapped in the car as it sinks.

The run-on sentence structure made the book a little hard to read, but I think it worked for conveying the thoughts of a woman who was in the process of slowly drowning. Also, Oates is viciously critical of every aspect of politics, so there’s something in the book to offend pretty much every group of people (not that this is necessarily a bad thing). I really liked all the underlying themes (the relative powerlessness of women in a male-dominated society, the empty gestures of politicians, to name a few). ( )
  AmandaL. | Jan 16, 2016 |
Based on the true story of Ted Kennedy and Mary Jo Koepechne, also known as the Chappaquiddick incident. A short quick, creative read. Even though one knows the outcome you still can't help but wish for a different ending. ( )
  Lynsey2 | Jan 15, 2016 |
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for the Kellys --
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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.
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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.

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