I love the concept of Joyce Carol Oates. I mean first of all the name! What a splendid name, intricate, commanding with a rhythm like a poem. Joyce Carol Oates cannot be anything other than a writer. And she churns out novels like she’s a novel factory turning sausages into full-blown novels over and over, doesn’t matter what genre, Joyce makes the sausage!
But I didn’t like little bird of heaven. In fact it is my first DNF – something I did not anticipate after the first chapter that was delicious, rich and salacious (yes all those things). Here we meet Krista in an elicit ride with her father who she is not supposed to see. Because he MAYBE killed someone. Maybe not. The first chapter is a weird sexual-tensiony ride that made me feel outraged and reeled in. Then it’s all about the dead person and the people left behind.
That dead person is Zoe Kruller, who had an affair with Krista’s “Daddy,” but also just left her husband. These two men become the prime suspects in an investigation that never seems to end. I don’t know who killed Zoe Kruller in the end and I sincerely do not care. But it is supposed to be revealed in the book, so…
“To claim – to claim repeatedly – that you are innocent of what it is claimed by others that you have done, or might have done, or are in some quarters strongly suspected of having done, is never enough unless others, numberous others, will say it for you.”
The storytelling was set up in iterative increments spiraling deeper and deeper into the story, introducing more and more characters. Usually this is interesting if the environment is well portrayed or the characters intriguing. This was not. The main character told her story over and over in a rambling, childish stream of consciousness even though she is much older and looking back on it. The relationship she has with her father is borderline creepy and he called her “his little puss,” so many times it was revolting.
“Where there must be a choice, a girl will choose Daddy. Even if you are Mommy, you concede that this must be so: you remember when you were a girl, too.”
It could have been a well told tale of what happens to the ones left behind, those just on the edges on the scene of the crime. But it was just too slow and whiny for me.