Jane: A Murder

Front Cover
Soft Skull Press, 2005 - Poetry - 224 pages
Jane tells the spectral story of the life and death of Maggie Nelson's aunt Jane, who was murdered in 1969 while a first-year law student at the University of Michigan. Though officially unsolved, Jane's murder was apparently the third in a series of seven brutal rape-murders in the area. Nelson was born a few years after Jane's death, and the narrative is suffused with the long shadow her murder cast over both the family and her psyche.

Jane explores the nature of this haunting incident via a collage of poetry, prose, and documentary sources, including newspapers, related "true crime" books, and fragments from Jane's own diaries written. Each piece in Jane has its own form that serves as an important fissure, disrupting the tabloid, "page-turner" quality of the story, and eventually returning the reader to deeper questions about girlhood, empathy, identification, and the essentially unknowable aspects of another's life and death. Part elegy, part memoir, 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 kind of stories it can tell, and how it can tell them.

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an interesting approach to a difficult topic

User Review  - Bobsyouruncle - Borders

In this collection, Nelson takes on the task of chronicling the events that led up to and followed from the brutal rape and murder of her aunt. The book shifts form from journal entires to short ... Read full review

Review: Jane: A Murder

User Review  - Susan - Goodreads

I could hardly put this book down! Read full review

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