The Color of Night

Vintage: Random. Apr. 2011. c.224p. ISBN 9780307741882. pap. $15. F
In his latest novel, Anisfield-Wolf Award winner and National Book Award finalist Bell composes a tale of violence and obsession. The work chronicles Mae, a seemingly normal yet wounded blackjack dealer, through empty sexual escapades in an attempt to quell the feelings for her former lover Laurel, whom she compulsively watches in 9/11 videos. She replays the images of Laurel on her knees, hands raised to the sky while the rubble of the wreckage surrounds her; Mae is thrilled by the destruction, offering readers a glimpse into a tormented mind. The journal-reminiscent style of writing coupled with the direct, detached voice of the narrator is captivating. Each page builds to a climax with another experience, such as Mae's incestuous abuse at the hands of her brother and her unremitting wanderings in the desert with her rifle, which adds to the layers of an already tattered existence.
VERDICT Wonderfully capturing the essence of a troubled woman, Bell's novel will appeal to fans of John Updike's The Terrorist and readers of psychological novels.

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