...one of the most curious and moving love affairs in contemporary fiction ... The book examines the nature of passion, affection and, above all, the loneliness that permeates even the longest and most intimate relationships.
Early on, we learn that E.H. has a flattened affect, 'as a caricature is a flattened portrait of the complexity of human personality.' In confining her search to the realm of darkness and depravity, Oates has flattened the potential complexity of her own novel.
We mainly see Margot’s 'doomed and deranged love' from her perspective, but Oates occasionally allows for an outsider’s take. It’s those little glimpses that balance Margot’s intensity and remind us that inner turmoil is often invisible to the world at large. As Oates examines how memory affects our perception of the past and shapes our present and future selves, she also weaves an engrossing love story.