A book of American martyrs / Joyce Carol Oates.
LJ Reviews 2016 September #2
In this timely and morally stringent new work, hard-believing evangelical Luther Dunphy claims to be carrying out God's will when he assassinates small-town abortion provider Augustus Voorhees, who believed that he was offering an essential health service. Oates examines the convictions of murderer and victim and the unfolding difficulties for their families. With a 100,000-copy first printing.. Copyright 2016 Library Journal.
LJ Reviews 2017 January #1
In 1999 in rural Ohio, "Army of God" antiabortionist Luther Dunphy assassinates OB/GYN Gus Voorhees and his volunteer driver outside of the clinic where Dr. Voorhees provides abortions. The families of the two men are torn apart as wives and children are left to deal with the aftermath, with Oates's narrative moving among Luther's account of his life before and after the killing and the lives of his daughter, Dawn, and Gus's daughter, Naomi. Naomi's and Dawn's converging paths as aspiring documentary filmmaker and promising boxer are particularly compelling as each young woman battles her demons and holds the hope for some future reconciliation. The result is a timely tale of two divided American families and their respective journeys through the grief of losing fathers, sons, and husbands.
PW Reviews 2016 December #2
On Nov. 2, 1999 in Muskegee Falls, Ohio, a self-described "soldier of God" named Luther Dunphy loads a shotgun, drives to an abortion clinic near his home, and guns down Dr. Augustus Voorhees as he arrives at work. In this chilling novel, bestselling author Oates (Carthage) approaches one of America's enduringly divisive topics through the lens of a sprawling family epic. The bulk of the novel deals with the shooting's aftermath and its impact on the daughters of Dunphy and Voorhees—two women whose lives are permanently shifted by their fathers' legacy for opposite sides of the contentious abortion-rights debate. Divided into five sections, the book begins by delving into the lives of Dunphy (now on death row) and Voorhees before the narrative finally coalesces around Naomi Voorhees's floundering attempts to understand her family, leading her to a career in documentary filmmaking and a surprising connection with Dawn "The Hammer of Jesus" Dunphy, whose anger and aggression propel her into a championship-level boxing career. Unfortunately, some of the emotional nuance is thinly developed, with the majority of the characters standing as archetypes of opposing worldviews. Nevertheless, Oates's sprawling tale presents a sensitively painted portrait of the inextricable quality of grief and the weight of family legacy, showing how unexpected connections can bind people together in counterintuitive ways. (Feb.) Copyright 2016 Publisher Weekly.