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Joyce Carol Oates

My Sister, My Love: The Intimate Story of Skyler Rampike

Joyce Carol Oates.
Publisher 4th Estate  
Format paperback
Product Dimensions 9.25 x 6 x 1.55 inches
ISBN 9780007285099
Pages/Publication Date 562/2008
Daedalus Item Code 01797
This item is not available.
"Dysfunctional families are all alike. Ditto 'survivors'." With this first line in the unexpurgated first-person narrative of 19-year-old Skyler Rampike, the National Book Award–winning author of Black Water and The Falls gives us the story of the only surviving child of an infamous American family. A decade before, the Rampikes were destroyed by the murder of Skyler's sister Bliss, a six-year-old ice-skating champion, and the media scrutiny that followed. A wry tale inspired by the true-crime mystery of the JonBenét Ramsey murder, this novel is part investigation, part elegy for both lost childhoods, and an arch satire of upper-middle-class pretensions.

"Of course Oates, fluent in the valor and vulnerability of girls in our aggressively sexualized world, would be drawn to the unsolved murder of JonBenet Ramsey. But she is also imaginative and daring enough to fictionalize that horrendous case with ferocious intensity, nervy wit, and profound purpose. Bix Rampike, big, sexy, and ruthless, is intent on getting mega-rich. Anxious and needy Betsey Rampike longs to impress the elite in their snooty New Jersey town, and tries to use her jittery son, Skyler, as bait. But it's her second child, high-strung Edna Louise, who fulfills Betsey's dream via figure skating. Oates’ choice of girls’ exhibition ice-skating is inspired. It's a cold, hard, and precarious realm fraught with prurience. And her choice of narrator is equally ingenious: Skyler tells the story of his sister's grotesque and grueling transformation into Bliss, a provocatively costumed ice fairy, a decade after her death. He has barely survived his toxic family, and his chronicle of the Rampikes' erotically charged self-destruction becomes a mordantly satirical indictment of a deeply neurotic society, replete with its 'Tabloid Hell' and 'cybercesspoolspace.' Damaged and incisive, Skyler is an utterly compelling narrator, and Oates is at once wrenchingly visceral and transcendently empathic in this bold and astute tragedy of fatal ambition. An unforgettable novel of extraordinary dimension and power."—Booklist (starred review)

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