Ryan Mishap's Reviews > The Four Stages of Cruelty: A Novel

The Four Stages of Cruelty by Keith Hollihan
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's review
Dec 18, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: novel

Promises a hard look at the human capacity for cruelty and compassion; the mysteries of why we do what we do. I think the idea is that no one is untainted by corruption or free from complicity in horrors; conversely, everybody has the capacity to do good, to extend compassion if not forgiveness.

The problem, here, however, is that this compelling story takes place inside a prison and it becomes too easy to rely on the old prisoners are animals theory when needed. Apart from that, the setting imposes strict rules on behavior for those in its hierarchy, and the interplay between factions as the mystery of the comic book is unraveled is interesting.


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