Melanie Sweeney Bowen's Reviews > Mary and O'Neil: A Novel in Stories

Mary and O'Neil by Justin Cronin
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Nov 10, 09


A book that can make me cry is rare, and this one made me cry twice. What's most impressive to me about this novel is the fact that it manages to make the reader feel empathy for its characters without seeming to manipulate. It stacks what any person would consider awful losses on its characters, but it doesn't say, "Now, please feel sorry for them." It's so quietly moving that the feelings it solicits are genuine - at least they were for me. It's able to do this, I believe, because of Cronin's masterful construction of sentences. His ability to seamlessly drift between dreams and reality is rare, and it lends a mystical quality to the book that is meant to mirror the inexplicable nature of suffering and everyday experience of the human race. It's a powerful novel-in-stories.
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