Tara's Reviews > The Color of Night

The Color of Night by Madison Smartt Bell
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May 13, 11

really liked it
Read from April 30 to May 14, 2011

In Bell's early acks, he states that his muses are "daemons," and that this story is proof. He writes that this is the "most vicious and appalling story ever to pass through my hand ... so inevitably some people will hate it." I did not hate it, despite being a reader who avoids graphic writing. (I will never read American Psycho.) When I saw that it was centered around a character named Mae who toted around a gun in the Southwestern desert, I had to read it. But had no idea what I was in for: incest, Manson cult life, murder, 9/11, all wrapped up like a daemonic serpent. For the most part, it works brilliantly. I'd give the prose a 5. The powerful voice and commanding, poetic prose keep you moving forward. I just took a few marks off for some plot turns that were not believable, to me. I think Bell embellished in areas he didn't need to. Still, this will probably go down as one of the best books I'll have read in 2011. It will for sure spark some interesting conversations.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Excellent review Tara but I'm not sure I could get through it......without nightmares that is.


Tara I actually thought about you, Cynthia, after I read this, but don't want to recommend it to anyone in case the hate ME for it :-). Let them decide based on the review. But if you got through the Franco book, you should be able to get through this one. He is not graphic, it is haunting, but you feel so removed from it. Anyway, you might want to see if your library has it. That way if you can't get through it (the violence does escalate) you can return it with no guilt.


message 3: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Good point though I wouldn't have read the Franco if I'd known ahead of time how visceral it was. Sounds like the thing they had in common is the writing is so compelling that once you start you don't want to stop.


Tara Yes, and somehow it feels like it is an important look into 60s and the tragic repercussions it had on some lives.


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