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Ave Del Paraíso (2009)

by Joyce Carol Oates(Favorite Author)
3.3 of 5 Votes: 5
8420474576 (ISBN13: 9788420474571)
review 1: Some JCO books I really appreciate, some I find really compelling, but I've come to realize i don't typically enjoy them. They subjects are almost always grim. You are frequently left with nobody you really want to root for.Little Bird of Heaven fits that description. It starts with a brutal killing, the main characters are a boy who never had much of a chance in life and a girl who takes 40 years to find a way to move forward...and I didn't really care when she did. Sigh.
review 2: Joyce Carol Oates is the American guru of family dysfunction and the nexus between social and family dynamics. “We Were the Mulvaneys” (1996) and “Carthage” (2013)—see reviews—are only two of her 40 novels, many with this theme. “Little Bird of Heaven” (2009) sits
... more squarely in this oeuvre. We meet our narrator Krista Diehl, now an adult, describing her family’s breakdown when she was a teenager in Sparta, a small town in upstate New York (Oates has an affinity for towns with names from ancient history). In addition to Ed Diehl’s (Dad’s) chronic alcohol-related temper problems, he is under a cloud of public suspicion after being questioned by the police and named a “person of interest” in the murder of Zoe Kruller, his married mistress. Though Dad is released for lack of evidence, he and the entire family discover that in the public consciousness the line between suspicion and guilt is poorly defined. Did he or didn’t he? Enquiring minds want to know! But many minds are already made up.The other person of interest is Zoe’s husband, Delray Kruller (doughnuts, anyone?). Delray runs an auto repair shop, and has the same emotional issues as Dad—alcohol, a temper, and a rough reputation. Their son, Aaron, is a couple of years older than Krista. Aaron is outwardly a very tough boy, large for his age with a reputation for quick anger, but inside he is driven by pain and fear. As you’d expect, he’s devastated by his mother’s death, more so because he found the body. He and his father are tainted by the stalemate in Mom’s murder case—Delray was also released by the police for lack of evidence. But society knows that either he or Ed did it, and the sides are forming in Sparta.So two families are torn asunder by Zoe’s betrayal and death. Both fathers slip farther into alcoholism and despair. Krista’s mother throws Dad out of the house and reinforces it with a “no contact” court order. We understand why Dad would be thrown out of the house—mistress and betrayal, alcohol and anger. But adultery and alcoholism is grounds for divorce and custody arrangements; court injunctions come from far darker springs. Why the injunction?All we know is that we will know. Oates’s craft draw us in with a trail of tiny breadcrumbs until all is known. What we do know is that as Dad swirls into paranoia, Krista still yearns for contact with him—she believes that he loves her best, and Dad knows how to manipulate that love to get what he wants--back with Mom. Dad’s manipulations and his descent into hell are the matches that light this book’s fuel. I’m an Oates fan. Her dark view of our species (whether as individuals, as families, or as a society), her sensitivity to nuance, and her ability to draw you into painful experiences define her work. And at the end of the path there is survival. In an Oates novel, some of us overcome and the rest die. Still, I’m puzzled by Joyce Carol Oates. She reports that she had a happy childhood in an upstate New York town. Yet her novels show such a keen insight into the dark side that we wonder how that could be. Sometimes, for me, the mystery of Joyce Carol Oates is even more interesting than the Joyce Carol Oates’s mysteries. less
Reviews (see all)
I'm torn between 2 and 3 stars. This one is worth rounding down. The protagonist Krista is a nutter.
Another of my favorite authors. I love all of her books!
OK but not one of Oates better books
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