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Jane: A Murder (Soft Skull ShortLit) [Paperback]

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Item description for Jane: A Murder (Soft Skull ShortLit) by Maggie Nelson...

The author chronicles the brutal rape and murder of her aunt in a collage of hard-hitting poems, Jane's actual diaries, dream accounts, and documentary sources, reconstructing the traumatic event and its long legacy within the author's family. Original.

Publishers Description
A new entry in Soft Skull's ShortLit series, Jane tells the spectral story of the life and death of Maggie Nelson's aunt Jane. Though officially unsolved, Jane's murder was apparently the third in a series of seven brutal rape-murders near the University of Michigan in the late 1960s. Nelson was born a few years after Jane's death, and the narrative is suffused with the long shadow her aunt's murder cast over both the family and her psyche. Through a collage of poetry, prose, dream accounts, and documentary sources — including fragments from Jane's own diaries — the book explores the nature of this haunting incident and raises deeper questions about girlhood, empathy, identification, and the essentially unknowable aspects of another's life and death. Part elegy, part memoir, part detective story, part meditation on violence, and part conversation between the living and the dead, Jane's powerful and disturbing subject matter, combined with its innovations in genre, expands the notion of what poetry can do, what kinds of stories it can tell, and how it can tell them.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   224
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 4.5" Height: 7.5"
Weight:   0.42 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 2, 2005
Publisher   Soft Skull Press
ISBN  1932360719  
ISBN13  9781932360714  

Availability  0 units.

More About Maggie Nelson

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Maggie Nelson is a poet, critic, and nonfiction author of books such as "The Art of Cruelty: A Reckoning," "Bluets," and "Jane: A Murder." She teaches in the School of Critical Studies at CalArts and lives in Los Angeles, California.

Maggie Nelson was born in 1973 and has an academic affiliation as follows - CalArts.

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > English > American Literature
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Poetry > General
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Poetry > Single Authors > United States
4Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > United States > Poetry > 20th Century
5Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > United States > Poetry > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Jane: A Murder (Soft Skull ShortLit)?

An "Orgy of Unthinkable Fire"  Jul 4, 2006
Jane's diaries are extraordinary; oh, maybe they're not but Maggie Nelson frames them in an extraordinarily telling manner, abstracting their most beautiful or witty parts so that often she comes across as a teenage Marquise du Deffand. Considering that Nelson had only two journals to work with, written many years apart, she mines them wonderfully, and part of the heartbreak is realizing how much Jane has grown in the gap of missing years between 1960 and 1966. Sometimes the older Jane strikes a note of spiritual exhaustion, like Francoise Sagan last year at Marienbad: "Cigarettes--one after the other; why?" And the 1966 Jane sometimes seems a little bit like the questioning heroine of the "Go Ask Alice" diaries, a far cry from her innocent days of youth, in which it was bliss to be alive.

And yet what Nelson does with this material is in the end a fit memorial for a woman we feel we might almost know, except an evil spirit came down on Michigan and began stamping out its most beautiful citizens. Nelson has attained a niche in both true crime and poetry; has any other writer really been in this crazy space before? The life that she had, born in the wake of this terrible murder, has been a haunted one; for better or for worse poetry got a hold of her. JANE A MURDER is nearly a novel, for it has a strong subplot that culminates in the early death, revealed in "The Burn," of her father, described almost as an apple, strawberry, or rose. "I remember thinking he looked really, really red," a classmate tells Maggie. "Like he was about to burst."

The trope of bursting is everywhere in these plain and wonderfully turned poems. Ripeness is all, a surreal ripeness like the bright beating bead at the end of the thermometer. A friend recommended this book for its therapeutic value, as though Nelson had healed herself, or her family, through writing it all out, but I don't think that it's about rescue per se, it's more about noticing how vivid it all is, life, death, going away, coming back, the pulsating world.
A Powerful, Haunting, and sobering book about grief and loss  Jun 4, 2005
Maggie Nelson is an extraordinary writer. She is able to convey complexity in the sparces of prose/poetry. Her book is griping. You cannot stop reading even as you are horrified and pained by what she has to tell you. And what she has to tell is very much about how loss, painful loss crosses generations. This is a book very much about grief across generations in a single American family. Maggie does not prettify the range of emotions that come with tragic loss. She is not afraid to show the rage as well as the sorrow and how these emotions are mixed and intermingled.

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