Book Review: Little Bird of Heaven – Joyce Carol Oates [TSS]

Title: Little Bird of Heaven: A Novel
Author: Joyce Carol Oates
ISBN: 9780061829833
Pages: 448
Release Date: September 15, 2009
Publisher: Ecco
Genre: Literary Fiction
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:

Zoe Kruller, a beautiful singer, has been found murdered in the small town of Sparta, NY.  The two main suspects are her estranged husband, Delray Kruller, and Eddy Kiehl, a man with a wife and family.  The novel follows Krista Kiehl, Eddie’s daughter and Aaron Kruller, the son of Zoe and Delray, over a span of years as it examines the consequences of this brutal murder.

Summary:

While I have heard wonderful things about Joyce Carol Oates, I have never actually read one of her novels.  Little Bird of Heaven seemed like the perfect place to start.

Little Bird of Heaven has two narrators:  Krista and Aaron.  Krista’s story is the first half of the book, followed by Aaron’s in the second.  We see the same events from both sides and gain an understanding about how these two hurting and troubled people affect one another.  The two voices are written very differently.  Krista is more matter of fact (but also told with more emotion), while Aaron holds the reader at an arms length.  His thoughts are written in an almost stream of consciousness as he tries to accept his mother’s death.  Though very well-written, I must admit that I appreciated Krista’s voice much more than Aaron’s.

Though a murder is at the center of Little Bird of Heaven, this really isn’t a mystery.  True, there is the lingering question of who killed Zoe Kruller, but the center of the story is really on the ramifications of her death.  Both Aaron’s and Krista’s lives are irrevocably changed by it, and the novel is about that change and how it affects them.

There is a lot of pain in this novel, and Oates writes it beautifully.  Her amazing prose is what ties this whole novel together.  I can’t say enough wonderful things about how well she writes, about how she captures emotions so truly with just words.  She elevates reading a book from an act to an experience.

I thought Little Bird of Heaven was an interesting book and a great introduction to Oates’ work.  I’ll definitely be picking up more of her novels in the future.

Comments

  1. This one does sound good. I haven’t liked all of her books so I like to read other people’s reviews of her work and find the good ones!

  2. This one does sound good. I haven’t liked all of her books so I like to read other people’s reviews of her work and find the good ones!

  3. I love JCO but I am not familiar with this book–I will have to check it out!

  4. I love JCO but I am not familiar with this book–I will have to check it out!

  5. Very nice review. I keep seeing this one and wondering if I should give it a try. From your review I think I will enjoy it.

  6. Very nice review. I keep seeing this one and wondering if I should give it a try. From your review I think I will enjoy it.

  7. I’ve only read one book by her (I think it was called Black Girl White Girl) and I liked it. I have this one on my TBR. Glad to hear it’s worth reading!! =) I think I’m really going to like a lot of this author’s works. =)

  8. I’ve only read one book by her (I think it was called Black Girl White Girl) and I liked it. I have this one on my TBR. Glad to hear it’s worth reading!! =) I think I’m really going to like a lot of this author’s works. =)

  9. Thanks for this review. I really like Oates’ writing…and she does seem to have a lot of pain in her novels! This one is on my TBR pile for this year.

  10. Thanks for this review. I really like Oates’ writing…and she does seem to have a lot of pain in her novels! This one is on my TBR pile for this year.

  11. I have also never read anything by Oates before. This one sounds like a good place to start.

  12. I have also never read anything by Oates before. This one sounds like a good place to start.

  13. I haven’t read any of Oates work either, and you’d think I would, because a friend of mine collects first editions of her work.

  14. I haven’t read any of Oates work either, and you’d think I would, because a friend of mine collects first editions of her work.

  15. Oh, I’m relieved I’m not the only one who hasn’t read Joyce Carol Oates, after how Trish raves. I’ll keep this in mind as a possible first experience.

  16. Oh, I’m relieved I’m not the only one who hasn’t read Joyce Carol Oates, after how Trish raves. I’ll keep this in mind as a possible first experience.

  17. Well, I have also not read any of her books… and this one sounds good.

  18. Well, I have also not read any of her books… and this one sounds good.

  19. I haven’t read any of Oates’ books either, but this one really appeals to me. I remember reading she set this novel where she grew up, and I often enjoy when writers use a personal setting to tell a generational story.

  20. I haven’t read any of Oates’ books either, but this one really appeals to me. I remember reading she set this novel where she grew up, and I often enjoy when writers use a personal setting to tell a generational story.

  21. Thanks for the great review, will try.

  22. Thanks for the great review, will try.

  23. I won this one from BBAW but haven’t read it yet. Glad to see it’s good. Oates’ books are hit or miss with me.

    –Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

  24. I won this one from BBAW but haven’t read it yet. Glad to see it’s good. Oates’ books are hit or miss with me.

    –Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

  25. This one sounds really good. I´ve only read two of Oates´ works but liked them both a lot.

  26. This one sounds really good. I´ve only read two of Oates´ works but liked them both a lot.

  27. I have a few of Oates’ books on my shelf and have heard a lot of good things about her, but have not yet read a one of them! It sounds like there was a lot in this book to love and your review has inspired me to pick up one of my neglected Oates books and give it a try! Great review, I am glad you liked it!

  28. I have a few of Oates’ books on my shelf and have heard a lot of good things about her, but have not yet read a one of them! It sounds like there was a lot in this book to love and your review has inspired me to pick up one of my neglected Oates books and give it a try! Great review, I am glad you liked it!

  29. I’ve only read one Oates novel to date, but yes, I agree that her prose is amazing. Thank you for reminding me that I really ought to read more of her work.

  30. I’ve only read one Oates novel to date, but yes, I agree that her prose is amazing. Thank you for reminding me that I really ought to read more of her work.

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