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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Powerful, Haunting, and sobering book about grief and loss
Maggie Nelson is an extraordinary writer. She is able to convey complexity in the sparces of prose/poetry. Her book is griping. You cannot stop reading even as you are horrified and pained by what she has to tell you. And what she has to tell is very much about how loss, painful loss crosses generations. This is a book very much about grief across generations in a single...
Published on June 3, 2005 by Laura S. Levitt

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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disconnected
This is not what I expected at all. It's more of a collection of very personal poetry than a research project about an unsolved murder. It didn't flow well and the end left me wanting closure.
Published 18 months ago by Amazon Customer


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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Powerful, Haunting, and sobering book about grief and loss, June 3, 2005
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This review is from: Jane: A Murder (Soft Skull ShortLit) (Paperback)
Maggie Nelson is an extraordinary writer. She is able to convey complexity in the sparces of prose/poetry. Her book is griping. You cannot stop reading even as you are horrified and pained by what she has to tell you. And what she has to tell is very much about how loss, painful loss crosses generations. This is a book very much about grief across generations in a single American family. Maggie does not prettify the range of emotions that come with tragic loss. She is not afraid to show the rage as well as the sorrow and how these emotions are mixed and intermingled.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An "Orgy of Unthinkable Fire", July 3, 2006
By 
Kevin Killian (San Francisco, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Jane: A Murder (Soft Skull ShortLit) (Paperback)
Jane's diaries are extraordinary; oh, maybe they're not but Maggie Nelson frames them in an extraordinarily telling manner, abstracting their most beautiful or witty parts so that often she comes across as a teenage Marquise du Deffand. Considering that Nelson had only two journals to work with, written many years apart, she mines them wonderfully, and part of the heartbreak is realizing how much Jane has grown in the gap of missing years between 1960 and 1966. Sometimes the older Jane strikes a note of spiritual exhaustion, like Francoise Sagan last year at Marienbad: "Cigarettes--one after the other; why?" And the 1966 Jane sometimes seems a little bit like the questioning heroine of the "Go Ask Alice" diaries, a far cry from her innocent days of youth, in which it was bliss to be alive.

And yet what Nelson does with this material is in the end a fit memorial for a woman we feel we might almost know, except an evil spirit came down on Michigan and began stamping out its most beautiful citizens. Nelson has attained a niche in both true crime and poetry; has any other writer really been in this crazy space before? The life that she had, born in the wake of this terrible murder, has been a haunted one; for better or for worse poetry got a hold of her. JANE A MURDER is nearly a novel, for it has a strong subplot that culminates in the early death, revealed in "The Burn," of her father, described almost as an apple, strawberry, or rose. "I remember thinking he looked really, really red," a classmate tells Maggie. "Like he was about to burst."

The trope of bursting is everywhere in these plain and wonderfully turned poems. Ripeness is all, a surreal ripeness like the bright beating bead at the end of the thermometer. A friend recommended this book for its therapeutic value, as though Nelson had healed herself, or her family, through writing it all out, but I don't think that it's about rescue per se, it's more about noticing how vivid it all is, life, death, going away, coming back, the pulsating world.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing peek into an amazing life, August 16, 2011
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This review is from: Jane: A Murder (Soft Skull ShortLit) (Paperback)
When a person is murdered, that single fact frequently overshadows the person they were or could have become. In Jane:A Murder, Maggie Nelson gives us a glimpse into her Aunt Jane's life via her Jane's diary entries, stories told by family and friends, and through Maggie Nelson's own poetry. What comes through is a life cut tragically short. Jane had a depth and clarity of thought as a teenager that I am still yet to achieve in my 30's. She was a social activist, a brilliant writer, and so much more than a headline.

I literally cried in certain places and devoured the book in less than 24 hours. I was unable to walk away from Jane. I wanted to know more. But tragically there is no more, and it makes what thoughts of hers that we do have all the more precious.

One of the ten best books I've ever read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars stunning, November 2, 2010
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Anya (Seattle, WA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Jane: A Murder (Soft Skull ShortLit) (Paperback)
I bought this book for a poetry workshop class about the melding of different genres into poetry, and this book blew my mind. Part memoir, prose, poetry, investigative story and all sorts of haunting, this book was fantastic.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book!, February 19, 2009
This review is from: Jane: A Murder (Soft Skull ShortLit) (Paperback)
I had to read this book for my creative writing class and I really liked it. It's a book of poetry a woman wrote about her aunt who was murdered before before she was was born. It's a very deep portrait, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disconnected, August 31, 2013
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This is not what I expected at all. It's more of a collection of very personal poetry than a research project about an unsolved murder. It didn't flow well and the end left me wanting closure.
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Jane: A Murder (Soft Skull ShortLit)
Jane: A Murder (Soft Skull ShortLit) by Maggie Nelson (Paperback - March 2, 2005)
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