Having never read any of Robert Stone’s works previously, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I started his latest,”Death of the Black-Haired Girl.” The novel tells a story of an affair between a student and her professor at an elite university. Predictably, said professor is married. And thus begins a tale that you can pretty much figure out from the title where things are going to go…. Billed as “an irresistibly compelling tale of infidelity, accountability, the allure of youth, the promise of absolution, and the notion that madness is everywhere, in plain sight,” I felt this novel was too self-important and almost gets in its own way by trying to convey “big ideas” about morality and life.
Not only was the prose overly complex, but the characters were extremely unlikeable. Maybe that was what Stone intended, and again not being familiar with his canon/style, I can’t really weigh in. But for someone like me, who loves stories that you can sink into like a comfy chair, this was more like trying to relax on a concrete bench.
Perhaps not my cup of tea, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be yours– I think it would appeal to a certain set of readers, of which I am most certainly not.
Available for pre-order, “Death of the Black-Haired Girl” hits shelves on November 5th.
xo The Book Bird
Disclaimer: I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via NetGallery in exchange for a fair and honest review.