Saturday, August 16, 2008
August 16, 2008
Family secrets and lies
Jayne Pupek's first novel puts her among the ranks of Southern masters like McCullers and O'Connor
By L. Elisabeth Beattie
Special to The Courier-Journal
Don't be fooled by the dust jacket photograph of the lithesome girl twirling in her bright yellow dress or by the down-home title, Tomato Girl, of former social worker Jayne Pupek's first novel. For there's nothing any more cute, cozy or clichéd about this fast-paced, powerfully written tale than there is anything domestic or redemptive about family violence.
The contrast between the ordinary, post-World War II Southern, middle-class family of this fiction and the grotesqueries of their secret existence magnify the horrors of Pupek's plot.
Readers expect characters with criminal intent to commit heinous acts, but when well-intentioned characters falter, readers' frames of reference fade. It is far more frightening to realize the unlimited human capacity to commit unspeakable acts than it is to think that only a few bad seeds taint the species...
Read the rest of the review here.
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