Reading Matters

Joyce Carol Oates’ novel explores ‘all wounds of abortion debate’

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reviews Joyce Carol Oates’ new novel, “A Book of American Martyrs.”

“Here is a story whose grasp is so wide and whose empathy is so boundless that it provides an examination of the contemporary American soul.

“The opening pages explode. Immediately we’re there, inside the head of Luther Dunphy, filled with the zeal of divine vengeance. “So swiftly the Lord executed my moments,’ he thinks, ‘there was not time in the eyes of the enemy to register fear or alarm.”

And the review concludes: “Regardless of your own faith or politics, the real miracle here is how, even after 700 pages, we can still be racing along, steeling ourselves for the very last line, a line we’re desperate to reach — but not too soon.”