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*Starred Review* Set on campus, Stone’s novel features Maud, smart, beautiful, and full of passion for her convictions and her married professor. Professor Brookman, in turn, has ill-advisedly returned her affections. Unsure if it’s love or obsession, Brookman is already aware that this affair will not end well. Maud, after passing antiabortion demonstrators outside a women’s clinic, rashly writes a diatribe against small-mindedness and hypocrisy for the Gazette, unleashing much fury among groups on campus and elsewhere. And when the tragic, sudden, and inevitable death of the black-haired girl does finally strike, it is shocking. Although Stone (Dog Soldiers, 1974; Damascus Gate, 1998) introduces a cast of menacing and motivated characters, he is interested less in whodunit than in questions of fate and of faith. “Old stuff comes back,” he writes. Poor judgment and reckless acts have consequences, not just for the lovers but also for those in their orbit, among them, Maud’s dad, a retired cop dying of emphysema; her roommate, a B-movie actress with a restraining order on her fanatical ex-husband; Brookman’s wife and daughter; and Maud’s student counselor, an ex-nun and former revolutionary. Stone’s world, full of ominous forebodings, is populated by characters familiar to readers of his novels: the disaffected, the politically naive, and the world weary—lost souls who have lost their faith and others with false faith. High-Demand Backstory: The publication of any book by Stone is a literary event; this one is no exception. --Ben Segedin --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
A New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice
Winner, 2014 Paterson Fiction Prize
"A taut novel of psychological suspense… The result is at once a Hawthorne-like allegory and a sure-footed psychological thriller."
—Michiko Kakutani, New York Times Book Review
"The novel is unsettling and tightly wrought—and a worthy cautionary tale about capital-C consequences."—Entertainment Weekly
“A compressed story with the swift metabolism of a thriller”
—Alexandra Alter, Wall Street Journal
"Anyone who loves fine fiction has no choice but to read this novel now."
—San Francisco Chronicle
"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 the fatal inner workings of revenge, hatred, betrayal, and zealotry—and that, like Mauriac, he is the pitiless guardian of a cast of sufferers on whose tribulations he manages to bestow a kind of shattered mercy."
"The death of a star student at an upper-crust university unsettles friends, faculty and family in a piercing novel from veteran novelist Stone… A critique of tribalism of all sorts—religious, academic, police—…[Death of the Black-Haired Girl is] an unusual but poised mix of noir and town-and-gown novel, bolstered by Stone’s well-honed observational skills."
—Kirkus (starred review)
"Robert Stone is one of our transcendently great American novelists. In Death of the Black-Haired Girl he turns an unflinching gaze into the darkest crevices of the human psyche, where glimmers of redemption are extremely hard-won. This fast-paced, riveting novel reflects a vivid and unforgettable image of what we have made of ourselves, in this country, at the turn of 21st century so far."
—Madison Smartt Bell
"Robert Stone is a vastly intelligent and entertaining writer, a divinely troubled holy terror ever in pursuit of an absconded God and His purported love. Stone’s superb work with its gallery of remarkable characters is further enhanced here by his repellently smug professor, Steve Brookman, and the black-haired girl’s hopelessly grieving father, Eddie Stack."
"Stone (Damascus Gate) imbues his characters with a rare depth that makes each one worthy of his or her own novel. With its atmosphere of dread starting on page one, this story will haunt readers for some time."—Publishers Weekly
As usual, Stone's prose is extraordinary. One of a kind. Unduplicatable. (One can write Hemingway, but one could never write Stone -- he has the total uniqueness only a... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Joseph Ross
Not as good as I had expected from the reviews I read. Very mixed it and hard to follow.Published 5 months ago by Patty W
This book was incredibly boring... I forced myself to finish it, literally a struggle to get through it! Don't waste your time or money.Published 6 months ago by Kendra W.
Maud Stack, a bright student at a New England University, has been having an affair with her professor Steve Brookman. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Jacqueline Adams
I ditched all.of his books. Just couldn't get into reading them. Maybe another time.Published 7 months ago by Elizabeth Davis
I felt for the titular character's father, but otherwise...pity can't sustain an entire novel.Published 7 months ago by sarah heady
I intensely disliked this book. If you unpack all the pretentious and abstract and idiosyncratic and often impenetrable language, the ideas being presented and examined here are... Read morePublished 8 months ago by EllaG
The character development was well done, but the plot was not up to those same standards. The book was worth reading anyway.Published 8 months ago by Athena