Wednesday, April 15, 2009

THE LOVELY BONES by Alice Sebold

Alice Sebold's novel of transcendental kitsch, The Lovely Bones, teases and manipulates the reader with horror and death but never really engages with the reality of death, treating it as life by other means rather than the end of life, the full stop, finis. The novel thus leeches the true existential horror out of death in a way that can only be called 'religious.' As for Sebold's imagination, she's no Garcia Marquez (to put it mildly). Her otherworld is a Walt Disney Kitschland, an amalgam of recent films (Ghost and What Dreams May Come spring to mind), and its imagery is shopworn, secondhand stuff. Add to this the dud metaphors that plague Sebold's prose like so many stinkbombs, and we have a novel that need no longer detain us, an already dated artifact of the Bush years: faith-based fiction. Rather than confront the horrible reality of the rape-murder she has imagined, Sebold prefers to dissolve it in a saccharine solution of pop Christianity. (And her last name's similarity to that of a truly great writer, W.G. Sebald, annoys me too...)


linda said...

Hi !

I just read your blog and your references to the novel "Lovely Bones" by Alice Sebold. Your interesting viewpoints sparked me to ask you if you would be interested in participating in a video survey I'm currently working on. This research is for internal marketing purposes on behalf of the movie studios. The novel was made into a movie by Peter Jackson and will come out late this year. It has been picked as a front-runner for next year's Oscars (

Let me know if you are interested, the questions are regarding the book and its themes and whether you would go see the upcoming movie and if not why etc.

Thank you.


Linda Kovacs

Stradella Road

Marlene Detierro said...

I have read some harsh reviews. I have also read some reviews were people were selfish enough to give away some of the story. That said, I am an avid reader. I read 2-3 books per week. The Lovely Bones is an excellent book. You grow to know the characters and care about what happens to them. I found them all very believable and unique in their reactions to the crime. I have passed this book around to 6 friends, one of them male, and everyone loved it. Buy this book, you wont regret it.

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