Paul Cody Shooting the Heart

ISBN 13: 9780670033096

Shooting the Heart

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9780670033096: Shooting the Heart
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A chilling, unforgettable literary novel by the author of So Far Gone journeys into the mind of Earl Madden, a former Boston schoolteacher committed to a state mental hospital, who struggles to deal with the idea that he may have killed his wife as he reflects on his unstable childhood, brief courtship and marriage, and obsession with serial killers. 20,000 first printing.

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About the Author:

Paul Cody’s work has appeared in Harper’s, The Quarterly, Story, and The Boston Globe Magazine, and on Voice of America as a critic’s choice. He has also been the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts grant. He lives with his wife and two sons in Ithaca, New York.

From Publishers Weekly:

Paul Cody's dark and disjointed third novel tells the story of a man so obsessed with serial killers that he may have crossed the line and become a killer himself. Earl Madden, a teacher at a private high school, is fixated on a number of gruesome murderers (John Wayne Gacy, the Boston Strangler, among others), to the extent that his interest finally lands him in a mental institution. Once he is there, doctors try to figure out whether or not Earl killed his missing wife, Joan, a fellow teacher. The novel tells Madden's story in vignettes and flashbacks, alternating with the histories of notorious murderers. The narrator's passion for serial killers is never adequately explained; even he doesn't know why he's fascinated by them (halfway through the novel he finally asks himself, "What is it that draws me so to these people?"; unfortunately, there's no clear answer). The scenes in the mental institution sound lifted from One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest ("She could have security here in five minutes, big fat bastards with sticks and radios, and there are shots, injections of one thing and another"), while ambitious attempts at insight into the criminal mind fall flat (about Gacy, Cody writes: "He was God almost. Master of Death, King of Life, Servant to None. And they encamped against it and fought against it. In the Bible. But he was unto him. A Master. None but unto Him. John. So long, John"). Evil comes to seem merely tedious in this numbing portrait of madness and (maybe) murder.
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Cody, Paul
Published by Viking 2004/04 (2004)
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