Joyce Carol Oates reviews Rafael Yglesias’s The Wisdom of Perversity in the New York Times Book Review.

Childhood was the ideal soft metal for the permanent engravings of evil.

The Wisdom of PerversityThis beautifully, bleakly precise statement occurs early in Rafael Yglesias’s painful and candid new novel about the consequences, seemingly irremediable, of childhood sexual molestation — particularly the sort of protracted molestation that is never exposed or punished. How can adults be so blind, the reader will ask, in frustration and dismay; how can adults who should be watchful and protective of their own children be so careless, so willfully oblivious, when a “charismatic” pedophile lives in their midst? The eagerness with which adults in “The Wisdom of Perversity” accommodate the outrageous behavior of a predator named Richard Klein, a 42-year-old vice president of marketing at NBC, is a particularly disturbing part of this memoiristic story of childhood victimization and lifelong trauma. “Without a vocabulary, he was silenced” — the child Brian Moran, insidiously “seduced” and molested at age 8, will carry this inner muteness throughout his life.

Read the full review at the New York Times.

Randy Souther

I'm a Reference Librarian at the University of San Francisco's Gleeson Library, and I run the Joyce Carol Oates web site, Celestial Timepiece.

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