Snake Eyes

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Under the pseudonym Rosamond Smith ( Soul/Mate ; Nemesis ), which she uses for her psychological thrillers, Joyce Carol Oates burnishes her reputation with this sensational page-turner that combines sheer entertainment and canny social satire. Well-meaning lawyer Michael O'Meara, plagued by obscure guilt (its cause not divulged until the novel's end), toils to release accused murderer and self-professed sculptor Lee Roy Sears (aka Snake Eyes because of his rippling serpent tattoo) from death row, procuring for him an artist's residency in the lavish Dumont Center of Mount Orion, N.J. A dazzling variation on the Eden myth, one of several underlying the tale, is the fetid backyard pond that Michael compulsively dredges. Among the affluent Mount Orion dwellers who make a pet of runty, seemingly childlike Lee Roy is Michael's willowy wife, Gina, whose foibles include vanity, shopping, romantic lunches and adulterous hotel interludes. Gina possessively befriends Lee Roy, buying him designer clothes and showing pique when an overripe divorcee snares his attention. Shifty Lee Roy thrives on the town's patronage: he sells his ``art,'' eats well and lifts weights, growing sleek but truculent. The tightly crafted plot hurtles to an inevitable battery of brutal events that both shock and satisfy. The author treats current issues--the sentimentality of liberals toward criminals, ``obscene'' art and censorship--with biting wit. BOMC selection. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Under the pen name Rosamond Smith ( Nemesis, LJ 7/90), Joyce Carol Oates has written a creepy psychological thriller that seems at first to be about the effect a paroled convict has on a ``perfect'' Amer ican family and the suburban New York community in which they live. Michael O'Meara is a lawyer who helps get con victed murderer Lee Roy Sears's death sentence commuted to life in prison. When the ``rehabilitated'' Sears is re leased, Michael gets him a job and invites him, over the objections of his wife, home to dinner. Sears's destructiveness and hatred of women is soon all too obvious to the reader, but it is O'Meara, devoted husband and father, who is the more disturbing character. O'Meara's manner of ``protecting'' his wife is as frightening as Sears's malevolence, and the novel's horrifying conclusion leaves the reader wondering who the real criminal is. This is disturbing, gripping, and memorable to read.-- Eliza beth Mellett, Brookline P.L., Mass.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525934042
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/1/1992
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 1.00 (w) x 1.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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