Monday, July 18, 2011

Five best books: cruelty in fact & fiction

Adam Ross is the author of the novel Mr. Peanut and a new collection of short stories, Ladies and Gentlemen.

For the Wall Street Journal, he named a five best list of books on cruelty in fact and fiction, including:
Tiger, Tiger
by Margaux Fragoso (2011)

Margaux Fragoso's unyielding examination of her 15-year relationship with her victimizer, Peter Curran, is not for the faint of heart. Fragoso was 7 years old when she introduced herself to the 51-year-old at a public swimming pool in Union City, N.J., saying innocently: "Can I play with you?" As Curran—who eventually committed suicide—nurtures a horrible privacy with the little girl, readers will constantly fight the urge to recoil. His predatory behavior has devastating effects on her, of course, from depression to emotional isolation and, most heart-rending of all, an inability to distinguish between authentic love and the perversions to which the author had grown accustomed. Yet readers may well deduce that a subtler and perhaps causative cruelty played a part in this story—namely the role of the writer's parents. By continually putting her at the center of their own fraught relationship—causing their daughter to yearn for stable adult love—they had made her vulnerable to a predator's sinister affections.
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue