Joyce Carol Oates returns with a dark, romantic, and captivating tale, set in the Great Lakes region of upstate New York—the territory of her remarkably successful New York Times bestseller The Gravedigger’s Daughter.
Set in the mythical small city of Sparta, New York, this searing, vividly rendered exploration of the mysterious conjunction of erotic romance and tragic violence in late 20th-century America returns to the emotional and geographical terrain of acclaimed author Joyce Carol Oates’s previous bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys and The Gravedigger’s Daughter.
When a young wife and mother named Zoe Kruller is found brutally murdered, the Sparta police target two primary suspects, her estranged husband Delray Kruller and her longtime lover Eddy Diehl. In turn, the Krullers’s son Aaron and Eddy Diehl’s daughter Krista become obsessed with one another, each believing the other’s father is guilty.
Told in halves in the very different voices of Krista and Aaron, Little Bird of Heaven is a classic Oates novel in which the lyricism of intense sexual love is intertwined with the anguish of loss, and tenderness is barely distinguishable from cruelty. By the novel’s end, the fated lovers, meeting again as adults, are at last ready to exorcise the ghosts of the past and come to terms with their legacy of guilt, misplaced love, and redemptive yearning.
He would say I am innocnet you know that don't you?
And I would say Yes Daddy.
But it was never enough of course. The fervent belief, the unquestioning love of a child for her father—this may be precious to the father but it can't ever be enough for him.
To claim—to claim repeatedly—that you are innocent of what it claimed by others that you have done, or might have done, or are in some quarters strongly suspected of having done, is never enough unless others, numerous others, will say it for you.
Unless you are publicly vindicated of whatever it is you have been strongly suspected of doing, it can't be enough.
... you know that darling don't you? You and your brother? You and your brother and your mother have got to know that don't you?