Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Strange Piece of Paradise 4-sentence Review

I finally made it through all 700+ pages of Terri Jentz's Strange Piece of Paradise, a big odd book wherein the author recounts her experience being attacked at a campsite while traveling across country, far from home, as a 19 year old by an axe-wielding nutjob in small town Oregon who was never caught. She revisits the crime and the area 15 years later and begins her own investigation, interviewing law enforcement, friends, and more, while also ruminating on the experience that she's reclaiming and gauging reactions from people who, bizarrely, still think about this incident often, sometimes everyday. This is kind of western goth, with respectfully drawn characters from an outsider perspective with a strange, eerie tie to this place. Maybe all this Johnny Cash has made me overly sympathetic to criminals, but I was uncomfortable with some of her work going after someone she's convinced did it, but ultimately, the story is worthy, and at times beautifully quiet, and speaks in a small way to the very large issues of masculinity, violence, and the expected silence of victims.

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