Picks and Pans Review: The Lovely Bones
By Alice Sebold
"In the hours after I was murdered," explains the 14-year-old narrator of this remarkably assured first novel, "as my mother made phone calls and my father began going door to door in the neighborhood looking for me, Mr. Harvey...carried away a sack filled with my body parts." Raped and savagely hacked to pieces, Susie Salmon looks down from heaven and describes what she sees: the killer who ripped her apart and a community ripped apart by her killing.
Because we learn the murderer's identity early on, this is less a mystery than a macabre fictional memoir; both Susie and her family must come to terms with their grief. Sebold, who wrote the rape memoir Lucky, employs a matter-of-fact tone that is the perfect antidote to false sentiments and easy answers. The book brims with such compassion that it becomes a redemptive and hard-earned celebration of the living. (Little, Brown, $21.95)
Bottom Line: Haunting
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