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Joyce Carol Oates
Adult Fiction OATES

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Periodically, Oates seems compelled to write grim novels that explore humanity's darkest corners. Coming on the heels of last year's excellent What I Lived For, this depressing narrative carries macabre imagination to the extreme. It depicts the career of Quentin P., a convicted young sex offender on probation who has turned to serial killing without being caught, despite the worried scrutiny of his family and of his psychiatrist. Convincingly presented as Quentin's diary of his pursuit of the perfect ``zombie'' (a handsome young man to be rendered compliant and devoted through Quentin's lobotomizing him with an ice pick), the narrative incorporates crude drawings and typographic play to evoke the hermetic imagination of a psychopath; the reader examines the killer's sketches of weapons and staring eyes, and hears him say, ``I lost it & screamed at him & shook him BUT I DID NOT HURT HIM I SWEAR.'' For all its apparent authenticity, however, this novel ventures into territory that has been explored more powerfully by, among others, Dennis Cooper (Frisk), whose chilly minimalism underscores the brutality of such crimes in a way that Oates's more calculatedly histrionic approach does not. This slim, sadistic reverie may be chilling, but it comes off as less a fully realized work than as an exercise from a writer at morbid play. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Quentin P. is 31 years old, single, and the son of a well-respected college professor. He has his own apartment in the university town where he lives and attends classes at a local technical college. He is also a convicted sex offender (now out on parole) and a serial killer. In Oates's riveting new novel the reader is cunningly drawn inside Quentin's mind as he carefully plans and carries out a gruesome murder. With a deceptively simple prose style, Oates forces us to feel the calculating rationality behind Quentin's madness. What gives this novel its awesome power is Oates's ability to convice us that Quentin might be anyone: a casual acquaintance, a friend, or a brother. Compulsively readable and impossible to forget, this should both win the prolific Oates new fans and satisfy her longtime readers. Highly recommended for public libraries of all sizes. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/95.]‘Nancy Pearl, Washington Ctr. for the Book, Seattle (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Quentin P.
Serial killer
Sexually obsessed; served time for sex crimes.

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