“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.” Joy Williams
In an elite college in a once-decaying New England city, Steven Brookman has come to a decision. A brilliant but careless professor, he has determined that for the sake of his marriage, and his soul, he must extract himself from his relationship with Maud Stack, his electrifying student, whose papers are always late and too long yet always incandescent. But Maud is a young woman whose passions are not easily contained or curtailed, and their union will quickly yield tragic and far-reaching consequences.
As in Robert Stone’s most acclaimed novels, here he conjures a complex moral universe where nothing is black and white, even if the charactersalways complicated, always compellingwish it were. The stakes of Brookman and Maud’s relationship prove higher than either one could have anticipated, pitting individuals against one another and against the institutions meant to protect them.
Death of the Black-Haired Girl is a powerful tale of infidelity, accountability, the allure of youth, the promise of absolution, and the notion that madness is everywhere, in plain sight.
|Product dimensions:||5.25(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.50(d)|
About the Author
ROBERT STONE (1937-2015) was the acclaimed author of eight novels and two story collections, including Dog Soldiers, winner of the National Book Award, and Bear and His Daughter, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His memoir, Prime Green, was published in 2007.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I was hoping for something along the lines of "Gone Girl" when I read this book, but it is not a thriller or a suspenseful mystery with devious characters. There are definitely some complicated characters, but I concluded that the story is more about what happens to a marriage and a career when a husband becomes involved in an adulterous affair. The black-haired girl is a student who is completely infatuated with one of her professors after having what seems to be a purely sexual affair from his perspective. The student becomes a nagging harridan when the professor finds out that his wife is pregnant and wants to withdraw from the relationship without any inconvenient repercussions. The student has disclosed her relationship to her roommate, an indie actress from Kentucky, who has her own complicated love life due to her possessive ex-husband. The black haired girl is hit and killed by a car while drunkenly arguing with the professor in front of his home as his wife watches. His wife is a professor at the same university and she is described as a Mennonite that has thick thighs, blonde hair, and blue eyes who stands by her man, despite his affair. The only point of the wife's depiction seems to be to contrast her with the irresistible beauty of the black haired girl, who is described as six feet tall and 120 pounds with an athletic build, fair-skinned and blue-eyed. Curiously, several of the more attractive female characters have the same striking complexion of dark hair and blue eyes. The potential mystery element is whether the death was a planned accident, a murder or just bad timing. The black haired girl's father is an ex-cop with COPD and a mysterious connection to organized crime. Naturally, the father blames the professor for his daughter's death so the suspense, as such, is whether he will kill the professor or call in favors and order a hit. This seems to be the only time that the professor demonstrates any real concern because he seems to have no regrets about the affair even though he loses his job and risked losing his wife. He seems to have no remorse or sadness about the girl's death while having nostalgic memories of the way she looked. There are many interesting elements to the story so it is a good diversionary read, but it's not a thriller.
About half way through the book it became obvious that the plot was either unraveling or just along too many turns . The "mourner", the uncle , the counselor , etc . So many characters, so many story lines opened, left undone, hints, and such but no real fulfillment or direction. Publishers Weekly said of the characters ,"...each one worthy of his or her own novel." Well, maybe that would have been preferable to too many "imbued with rare depth" and leaving so much unfinished.