- STAFF PICKS
- GIFTS + GIFT CARDS
- SELL BOOKS
- FIND A STORE
New Trade Paper
Currently out of stock.
Jane: A Murderby Maggie Nelson
Synopses & Reviews
A new entry in Soft Skull's ShortLit series, Jane tells the spectral story of the life and death of Maggie Nelson's aunt Jane. Though officially unsolved, Jane's murder was apparently the third in a series of seven brutal rape-murders near the University of Michigan in the late 1960s. Nelson was born a few years after Jane's death, and the narrative is suffused with the long shadow her aunt's murder cast over both the family and her psyche. Through a collage of poetry, prose, dream accounts, and documentary sources — including fragments from Jane's own diaries — the book explores the nature of this haunting incident and raises deeper questions about girlhood, empathy, identification, and the essentially unknowable aspects of another's life and death.
Part elegy, part memoir, part detective story, part meditation on violence, and part conversation between the living and the dead, Jane's powerful and disturbing subject matter, combined with its innovations in genre, expands the notion of what poetry can do, what kinds of stories it can tell, and how it can tell them.
"A deep, dark, female masterpiece." Eileen Myles
"This true story of murder and childhood beats down the last sparks in the cremains of genre with grace and appetite. Poets who want to write fiction and fiction writers who are sick of their limits, take a good look at this book that is speedy and readable in all the right ways. It is a model for change." Fanny Howe
"In this blurred genre memoir, Maggie Nelson attempts through poems, reflections, diary excerpts, dreams, scraps of newspaper accounts, and excerpts from police records to resuscitate a sense of her murdered aunt. Haunting this book are Jane's unaccounted for last hours, 'a gap so black/it could eat/an entire sun/without leaving/a trace.' But Jane is less about filling that gap than about illuminating the life that existed before, and the lives that struggled on after, her death. An empathetic and beautifully controlled approach to a profoundly difficult event." Brian Evenson
"Like all naturals, Nelson is driven by an ambition somewhere between mission and compulsion. Lucky for us." Jordan Davis, constantcritic.com
About the Author
Maggie Nelson has published two collections of poetry, Shiner (2001) and The Latest Winter (2003), both from Hanging Loose Press. She has also taught literature and writing at Wesleyan, the Graduate Writing Program of New School University, and Pratt Institute.
What Our Readers Are Saying
Other books you might like