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1 Oates, Joyce Carol Tattooed Girl: A Novel
New York, New York, U.S.A. Ecco Pr 2003 0060531061 / 9780060531065 1st Edition, 1st Impression Hard Cover As New As New 
New in new DJ. Dust jacket covered with Brodart 'just-a-fold' 1.5 mil jacket. Tight, clean copy with no marks, bumps or blems. From the Publisher Joshua Seigl, a celebrated but reclusive author, is forced for reasons of failing health to surrender his much-prized bachelor's independence. Advertising for an assistant, he unwittingly embarks upon the most dangerous adventure of his privileged life. Alma Busch, a sensuous, physically attractive young woman with bizarre tattoos covering much of her body, stirs in Seigl a complex of emotions: pity? desire? responsibility? guilt? Unaware of her painful past and her troubled personality, Seigl hires her as his assistant. As the novel alternates between Seigl's and Alma's points of view, the naive altruism of the one and the virulent anti-Semitism of the other clash in a tragedy of thwarted erotic desire. With her masterful balance of dark suspense and surprising tenderness, Joyce Carol Oates probes the contemporary tragedy of ethnic hatred and challenges our accepted limits of desire. The Tattooed Girl may be her most controversial novel. Synopsis Celebrated but reclusive author Joshua Seigl must hire an assistant due to failing health. But he doesn't expect Alma Busch -- an attractive woman with bizarre tattoos covering much of her body. Naivete and anti-Semitism clash in this tragedy of thwarted erotic desire. From The Critics The Los Angeles Times Oates writes The Tattooed Girl in a variety of styles, most of them ugly. When she renders Joshua's consciousness, her prose is clotted, intellectualized, ungainly; when she renders Alma's, it's slapdash, unpunctuated. This is surely by design. For when she wants the novel to move, it moves usually when her characters are in the grip of inspiration or dementia; for instance, when Joshua, in temporary remission from his disease, feels a manic grandiosity. Michael Harris Publisher's Weekly When a reclusive, 38-year-old writer hires a near-illiterate young woman as an assistant at his suburban home in Carmel Heights, near Rochester, N.Y., he's unaware that a vehement anti-Semitism seethes beneath her tattoo-branded exterior. Renowned for The Shadows-his great early success, a novel based on his grandparents' experiences in Germany during the Holocaust-Joshua Seigl confuses his friends and sparks the anger of his hypomanic sister, Jet, when despite their objections he refuses to fire the young woman. A full portrait of the amiable, disillusioned Seigl emerges as he translates Virgil's The Aeneid, makes excuses for his failing health (he has recently been diagnosed with a debilitating nerve disease) and interacts erratically with his concerned friend, Sondra. Meanwhile, the mentally hollowed-out Tattooed Girl comes to seem a more realistic victim of persecution than any character in Seigl's historical fiction. Her soft, fleshy skin is defaced with ugly tattoos burned beneath her eye and on the backs of her hands by a mysterious group of abusive males. With scarcely a shred of self-esteem, she mumbles 'Alma' to those who ask her name, 'as if she had no surname. Or her surname wasn't important, as Alma herself wasn't important.' She continually tries to impress her abusive, Jew-hating boyfriend, Dmitri, with little treasures stolen from her employer. Yet as she learns more about Seigl and his heritage, she can no longer ignore the dignity and respect with which he treats her. With her usual cadenced grace, Oates (We Were the Mulvaneys; Blonde; etc.) tells a mesmerizing, disturbing tale-though the little that is revealed of the Tattooed Girl's past may leave fans wanting more. Like the readers of Seigl's The Shadows, those who look for more meaning beneath the surface will be 'forced to imagine what the writer doesn't reveal.' (June 20) Forecast: In May, Oates's acclaimed second novel, A Garden of Earthly Delights (originally published in 1967), will be reissued by the Modern Library. The author's unusual decision to substantially revise and rewrite this work will prompt discussion and may boost general Oates sales. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information. Library Journal Alma is a girl with tattoos all over her body who appears in Carmel Heights, an upscale suburb of Rochester, NY. She is taken in by Dmitri, a slick waiter, who convinces her that he loves her and then pimps her out. Joshua Siegl is an author who decides he needs an assistant. After interviewing a slew of unacceptable candidates, he meets Alma in a bookstore and offers her the job. Alma is illiterate, anti-Semitic, and in love with the abusive Dmitri while Joshua is part Jewish, a writer, and eccentric. As they confront their own demons, their relationship creates new ones, and Joshua's failing health further complicates the picture. With her notable skill, Oates (Blonde) builds two strong if slightly stereotypical characters-the abused white trash girl and the Jewish intellectual older man-and forces them into an ever closer relationship with a stunning climax. Recommended for most collections. [Next month, Modern Library will release a substantially revised and rewritten version of Oates's 1966 A Garden of Earthly Delights in its '20th Century Rediscovery' series.-Ed.]-Josh Cohen, Mid-Hudson Lib. Syst., Poughkeepsie, NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information. Kirkus Reviews A hybrid, somewhere between (her pseudonym) Rosamond Smith's suspense thrillers and the melodramatic clashes of opposites in earlier works like Wonderland (1971) and American Appetites (1989). Oates's gazillionth novel, if anyone's still counting, focuses initially on Joshua Seigl, a former novelist and classics scholar approaching 40, living in self-imposed solitude in the upstate New York college town of Carmel Heights. Unable to find a suitable male research assistant, he impulsively hires Alma Busch, the eponymous beauty who also bears a 'disfiguring' facial tattoo, as well as a resentful vagrant and criminal past dating back to her upbringing among the semiliterate, bigoted working-class poor of the Akron Valley, where coal mine fires burning ceaselessly underground symbolize Alma's own buried emotions. A potentially fascinating dynamic unites white-trash Alma with Seigl, absorbed in his translation of the Aeneid and in hypochondriacal obsession with an undiagnosed 'nervous disorder.' Alas, Oates also introduces Alma's brutal lover and pimp, café waiter and college dropout Dmitri Meatte, a scheming underachiever who encourages Alma to ingratiate herself with 'the Jew' and bleed him of his wealth. Dmitri is a cartoon, but less unbelievable than Seigl's older sister, named (with equal improbability) Jet. This 'homegrown Cassandra' obtrudes herself into Joshua's life (irrationality incarnate, threatening his scholarly monkishness), appears to have been defused, then rises again, to precipitate the lurid, explosive finale. Oates is onto something with the bruised, malleable figure of Alma (whose emotional vacillations are very real indeed), and Joshua Seigl's own fluctuations betweenscholarly integrity and a consuming temperamental weakness make him one of Oates's most interesting recent characters. But The Tattooed Girl is flawed by the insistent presences of Jet and Dmitri, who have nothing like its principals' realness. Better-than-average Oates, all the same. 
Price: 4.99 USD
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