Death in Her Hands

Death in Her Hands

Book - 2020
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"From one of our most ceaselessly provocative literary talents, a novel of haunting metaphysical suspense about an elderly widow whose life is upturned when she finds a cryptic note on a walk in the woods that ultimately makes her question everything about her new home While on her normal daily walk with her dog in the nearby forest woods, our protagonist comes across a note, handwritten and carefully pinned to the ground with a frame of stones. Her name was Magda. Nobody will ever know who killed her. It wasn't me. Here is her dead body. Our narrator is deeply shaken; she has no idea what to make of this. She is new to this area, having moved here from her longtime home after the death of her husband, and she knows very few people. And she's a little shaky even on her best days. Her brooding about this note quickly grows into a full-blown obsession, and she begins to devote herself to exploring the possibilities of her conjectures about who this woman was and how she met her fate. Her suppositions begin to find echoes in the real world, and with mounting excitement and dread, the fog of mystery starts to form into a concrete and menacing shape. But as we follow her in her investigation, strange dissonances start to accrue, and our faith in her grip on reality weakens, until finally, just as she seems to be facing some of the darkness in her own past with her late husband, we are forced to face the prospect that there is either a more innocent explanation for all this or a much more sinister one--one that strikes closer to home. A triumphant blend of horror, suspense, and pitch-black comedy, Death in Her Hands asks us to consider how the stories we tell ourselves both guide us closer to the truth and keep us at bay from it. Once again, we are in the hands of a narrator whose unreliability is well earned, only this time the stakes have never been higher"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Press, 2020
ISBN: 9781984879356
Branch Call Number: F MOS
Characteristics: 259 pages ; 22 cm


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JCLFlanneryC Jul 28, 2020

My mom said this was too scary and my friend said it was too boring. Your mileage may vary. Like "Eileen" this book begins in a ruminative, discursive way and then quickly accelerates to a grisly finale. Ottessa Moshfegh specializes in inhabiting a character and illuminating their interior life. My trust in this narrator was tested a few times-- I think Ottessa Moshfegh must not have a dog-- but I read it quickly and enjoyed it okay. More than a true "mystery" I think Death in Her Hands investigates the specter of death especially as we age & come in closer, more frequent contact with it. It also functions as a metanarrative about a writer at work on a character study. I much prefer Ottessa Moshfegh's short stories, where her humor and concision shine and her pacing is much more controlled, but will always give a free pass to any book about a woman living alone.

STPL_JessH May 31, 2020

Would you enjoy a one-woman play featuring an isolated woman and a dog?
Would you enjoy listening to that woman create elaborate fantasies based on a three line note?
Would you enjoy delving deep into the psyche of said woman for many pages on end?

If you answered yes to these questions, then this book is for you. If you noticed that all three pose basically the same question, then this book really is for you!

The book was not for me. I won't say more. This is one of those reviews for people that are on the fence. If you want to read this book, then please enjoy it! Listen to it if you can because Ann Marie Lee does an excellent job with the narration. If you feel like the book is not for you, skip it. Ottessa Moshfegh always divides readers and this book is no exception. Entirely up to you, friends.


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