In her triumphant return to long fiction, Antonya Nelson’s embattled characters traverse the landscape of Wichita, Kansas, in the aftermath of the infamous BTK murders, a time the author has firsthand experience with. “His [Dennis Rader’s] first victims lived across from my elementary school, just three doors down from a friend,” says Nelson. “And the children who survived, who were not home when BTK killed their mother, father, little brother and little sister, attended the junior high where I was enrolled. I remember watching the news that night in January, at age 13, seeing the house and the streets and the businesses that were all so familiar to me...[and] he seemed proximate and menacing.” While Nelson rose to literary acclaim on the strength of her widely published short stories, she insists that writing a novel is far more of a challenge to plot and execute. In this case, however, “I knew that writing about the BTK killer would mean exploring his notoriety and infamy, and that I didn’t want his stuff to overwhelm the fictional material I wanted to write about. In a short story, he would have occupied about 90 percent of the real estate. In the novel, he only gets his 10 percent, and that’s all he merits.”
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Bloomsbury / September / 9781596915756 / $25.00
This book was featured in the Kirkus Best of 2010