This is a very short novella that I picked up for my husband who has been trying to write sex scenes and is not sure how graphic things can be. I had not read this (when I picked it up for him), but the title was provocative and I figured it would have some graphic yet literary sex (if anyone has any suggestions, I'm trying to find something more literary than 50 shades of garbage, but less violent than American Psycho). I have read other Oates work (and liked it) and in fact, am reading Mudwoman next myself so at the very least I figured it would be a good, if quick, read.
Anyway, it turns out there really isn't much sex in this book. Obviously it opens with the rape, which is violent and slightly graphic, but the story is mostly a vigilante one about the aftermath.
I found the book to be very compelling; this book was about societal pressures, fear and recovering, and the flaws in our legal/justice system. Yes it is short, but I think the fast paced nature of the story is a good reflection on the way that people remember events. And this is told in hindsight; Bethel is telling it to herself (for the most part) when she catches a glimpse of someone in NYC who reminds her of Dromoor.
That said, there were a few time issues that bothered me. First, Teena and Dromoor first meet in September 1994 and he is expecting a baby in about 20 days (so baby born Oct 1994). Then, on July 4, 1996 he is described as having an 18 month old, but the baby would actually be 20 months. I also thought that the timing of the hearing (Sept 1996) was way to quick for a crime that occurred 7/4/96. Finally, I didn't like that Teena was off and writing postcards in 1997. She seems to have healed and moved on very quickly. Certainly Dromoor's deliverance of justice would remove her from some of her fear and enable her to start to move on, but to be off of vacation writing flippant postcards just 12 months later seemed too quick.
It would have been a five star if it felt a bit more realistic.