Om Death of the Black-Haired Girl
In an elite New England college, Professor Steven Brookman embarks upon a careless affair with a brilliant but reckless student, Maud Stack. She is a young woman whose passions are not easily contained or curtailed, and is known as something of a firebrand on campus. As the stakes of their relationship prove higher than either one could have anticipated, their union seems destined to yield tragic and far-reaching consequences.A masterly, insightful and compact rendering of these human beings in turmoil. . . It's in a book such as this, at least while we're immersed in its reverberant pages, that we can find the only place where meaning, as dark as it might be, emerges as a balm against nothingness. Anyone who loves fine fiction has no choice but to read this novel now. A multi-layered work of literature with pronounced elements of suspense. A compressed story with the swift metabolism of a thriller Many will find the twists and turns engrossing and the unfaithful man humbled is a narrative that never entirely palls. The clash of warm-hearted wisdom and impetuosity as Jo urges Maud to "learn a little compassion" is one of several touching moments. In his fiction, Robert Stone is immersed no less profoundly in envisioning the drama of human evil in action than was the great French Catholic novelist and Nobel Laureate, Francois Mauriac. Not only with his brilliant new novel, Death of the Black-Haired Girl but from the early novels such as Dog Soldiers and A Flag at Sunrise down to later books like Damascus Gate and Bay of Souls, he has demonstrated again and again that he is no less a master than Mauriac of the tragic novel--of depicting... Stone is a master storyteller whose keen observations bring the reader to some very unfriendly and dark places. A thought provoking book, Death of the Black Haired Girl moves with compulsive momentum, pulling you in from the very first page. Totally gripping. Robert Stone's fast-paced new novel. . . takes as its presiding muse not Conrad or Graham Greene, but Nathaniel Hawthorne. . . His gift for orchestrating suspense and dramatic scenes - so vividly on display in ?Damascus Gate," his 1998 novel set in Jerusalem and Gaza - is deployed here with efficiency and élan. As is his talent for charting his characters' psychological and spiritual longings. . . . The result is at once a Hawthorne- like allegory and a sure-footed psychological thriller. Behind the knowing air of Robert Stone's brilliant, mysterious new novel, a vision lurks of America as a Puritanical, death-haunted country, where casual sins of the flesh stand in for crimes far more ancient and profound...[The novel is] a riff on the procedural whose pleasures are deeper than its lean page-count suggests. Stone uncoils these pleasures with taut, often graceful economy....?Death of the Black-Haired Girl" starts to feel less like Elmore Leonard and more like a descendant of H... You're reminded of Hawthorne or Greene, rather than any contemporary literary novelists or crime writers. Robert Stone, lapidary in his prose, is continent also in his output. Graham Greene is in some ways his most natural antecedent...[Stone] tackles a genre - frequently the thriller but, in the case of his latest book, the campus novel - and twists it to his purposes in ways that surprise and provoke. A subtle writer, he demands an attentive reader as he explores, through superficially familiar narratives, substantial themes.