I’m, back! After a week spent in South Florida (more on that in the days to come) followed by a week of work, sick pets, and tax prep I’m back to posting.
For the last two weeks I have been held in thrall by Joyce Carol Oates ‘A Book of American Martyrs’. Luther Dunphy (a poor, uneducated husband, father, carpenter and devout evangelical Christian) and Gus Voorhees (a middle class, highly educated husband, father, ob/gyn, and non-believer) represent both sides of the abortion debate still ranging in America today. It is a testament to Ms. Oates exceptional writing skills that her readers come to understand, and even emphasize with, how each man’s belief system leads to their resigned acceptance of becoming a martyr.
While the first third of the book focuses on Gus and Luther, the remaining story centers around their daughters; Naomi Voorhees, and Dawn ‘D.D’ Dunphy. Each girl’s journey from impressionable child to adult is dramatically impacted by their father’s actions and family reactions to the book’s pivotal murder scene. It is here that Ms. Oates eloquently and seamlessly weaves the many ways that an individual can kill or be killed into the storyline.
One thing that struck me about ‘A Book of American Martyrs’ is you never know which side of the abortion debate, if any, the author supports or wants you, the reader, to adopt. In our politically charged times I applaud Ms. Oates for taking an objective stance on a polarizing topic to produce a powerful, profoundly moving, thought-provoking book perfectly suited to today’s political times. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
Let me know if you have read or plan to read ‘A Book of American Martyrs’. I am curious to hear your perspective on one my ‘top 10’ books of 2017.
One thought on “Martyrs and madmen….”
[…] of books with plots that are markedly different and excellently written (including Moonglow and The Book of American Martyrs). Now I can add another unique read to that list – The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah […]