A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice
“Fast-paced [and] riveting . . . Stone is one of our transcendently great American novelists.” — Madison Smartt Bell
“Brilliant.” — Washington Post
At an elite college in a once-decaying New England city, Steven Brookman has come to a decision. A brilliant but careless professor, he has determined that for the sake of his marriage, and his soul, he must end his relationship with Maud Stack, his electrifying student, whose papers are always late yet always incandescent. But Maud is a young woman whose passions are not easily curtailed, and their union will quickly yield tragic and far-reaching consequences.
Death of the Black-Haired Girl is an irresistible tale of infidelity, accountability, the allure of youth, the promise of absolution, and the notion that madness is everywhere, in plain sight.
“At once unsparing and generous in its vision of humanity, by turns propulsive and poetic, Death of the Black-Haired Girl is wise, brave, and beautifully just.” — Boston Globe
“Unsettling and tightly wrought—and a worthy cautionary tale about capital-C consequences.” — Entertainment Weekly
“A taut, forceful, lacerating novel, full of beautifully crafted language.” — Los Angeles Review of Books
In Stone's latest bulletin from the dark side of the human condition, brilliant college student Maud Stack is having an affair with her English advisor, Steve Brookman, whose wife, Ellie, is expecting their second child. When Steve tries to distance himself from Maud, it leads to tragedy. The book is not so much a whodunit as an expressionistic collage of how others in this New England college town deal with the tragic event. They include college counselor Jo Carr, a former nun in South America who is haunted by clashes between people stuck in a "struggle toward mutual extermination"; Maud's widower father, Eddie, a Queens detective; Lou Salmone, the local cop who has to make sense of the senseless; and Shell Magoffin, Maud's roommate, who is being stalked by her ex. A "thuggish" academic, Steve may not be the most believable character, and Ellie's response to his infidelity might not be the most credible. But Stone (Damascus Gate) imbues his characters with a rare depth that makes each one worthy of his or her own novel. With its atmosphere of dread starting on page one, this story will haunt readers for some time.