9780812980493

Black and Blue

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780812980493

  • ISBN10:

    0812980492

  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 3/30/2010
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
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Summary

With this stunning novel about a woman and a marriage that begins in passion and becomes violent, the Pulitzer Prize--winning journalist and bestselling author ofOne True ThingandObject Lessonsmoves to a new dimension as a writer of superb fiction. "If literature were judged solely by its ability to elicit strong emotions," Kirkus Reviews said aboutOne True Thing, "columnist-cum-novelist Quindlen would win another Pulitzer." And the same will be said aboutBlack and Blue, a brilliant novel of suspense, substance, and importance. InBlack and Blue, Fran Benedetto tells a spellbinding story: how at nineteen she fell in love with Bobby Benedetto, how their passionate marriage became a nightmare, why she stayed, and what happened on the night she finally decided to run away with her ten-year-old son and start a new life under a new name. Living in fear in Florida--yet with increasing confidence, freedom, and hope--Fran unravels the complex threads of family, identity, and desire that shape a woman's life, even as she begins to create a new one. As Fran starts to heal from the pain of the past, she almost believes she has escaped it--that Bobby Benedetto will not find her and again provoke the complex combustion between them of attraction and destruction, lust and love. Black and Blueis a beautifully written, heart-stopping story in which Anna Quindlen writes with power, wisdom, and humor about the real lives of men and women, the varieties of people and love, the bonds between mother and child, the solace of family and friendship, the inexplicable feelings between people who are passionately connected in ways they don't understand. It is a remarkable work of fiction by the writer whom Alice Hoffman has called "a national treasure."

Author Biography

ANNA QUINDLEN is the author of two other bestselling novels, Object Lessons and One True Thing. Her New York Times column, "Public & Private," won a Pulitzer Prize in 1992, and a selection of these columns was published as Thinking Out Loud. She is also the author of a collection of her "Life in the 30's" columns, Living Out Loud, and two children's books, The Tree That Came to Stay and Happily Ever After. She lives in New York City.

Excerpts

The first time my husband hit me I was nineteen years old.

One sentence and I'm lost. One sentence and I can hear his voice in my head, that butterscotch-syrup voice that made goose bumps rise on my arms when I was young, that turned all of my skin warm and alive with a sibilant S, the drawling vowels, its shocking fricatives. It always sounded like a whisper, the way he talked, the intimacy of it, the way the words seemed to go into your guts, your head, your heart. "Geez, Bob," one of the guys would say, "you should have been a radio announcer. You should have done those voice-over things for commercials." It was like a genie, wafting purple and smoky from the lamp, Bobby's voice, or perfume when you took the glass stopper out of the bottle.

I remember going to court once when Bobby was a witness in a case. It was eleven, maybe twelve years ago, before Robert was born, before my collarbone was broken, and my nose, which hasn't healed quite right because I set it myself, looking in the bathroom mirror in the middle of the night, petals of adhesive tape fringing the frame. Bobby wanted me to come to court when he was testifying because it was a famous case at the time, although one famous case succeeds another in New York City the way one pinky-gold sunset over the sludge of the Hudson River fades and blooms, brand-new each night. A fifteen-year-old boy from Brooklyn was accused of raping a Dominican nun at knifepoint and then asking her to pray for him. His attorney said it was a lie, that the kid had had no idea that the woman in the aqua double-knit pants and the striped blouse was a nun, that the sex was consensual, though the nun was sixty-two and paste-waxing a floor in a shelter at the time. They took paste wax from the knees of the kid's pants, brought in the paste-wax manufacturer to do a chemical comparison.

The lawyer was an old guy with a storefront in a bad neighborhood, I remember, and the kid's mother had scraped together the money to hire him because Legal Aid had sent a black court-appointed and she was convinced that her son needed a white lawyer to win his case. Half-blind, hungover, dandruff on the shoulders of his gray suit like a dusting of snow, the kid's attorney was stupid enough to call the kid as a witness and to ask why he had confessed to a crime he hadn't committed.

"There was this cop in the room," the boy said, real low, his broad forehead tipped toward the microphone, his fingers playing idly with his bottom lip, so that his words were a little muffled. "He don't ask none of the questions. He just kept hassling me, man. Like he just keeps saying, "Tell us what you did, Tyrone. Tell us what you did." It was like he hypnotized me, man. He just kept saying it over and over. I couldn't get away from him."

The jury believed that Tyrone Biggs had done the rape, and so did everybody else in New York who read the tabloids, watched the news. So did the judge, who gave him the maximum, eight to fifteen years, and called him "a boil on the body of humanity." But I knew that while Tyrone was lying about the rape he was telling the truth about that police officer, because I lived with that voice every day, had been hypnotized by it myself. I knew what it could do, how it could sound. It went down into your soul, like a confessor, like a seducer, saying, "Tell me. Tell me." Frannie, Frannie, Fran, he'd croon, whisper, sing.

Sometimes Bobby even made me believe that I was guilty of something, that I was sleeping with every doctor at the hospital, that I made him slip and bang his bad knee. That I made him beat me up, that it was me who made the fist, angled the foot, brought down a hand hard. Hard. The first time he hit me I was nineteen. I can hear his voice now, so persuasive, so low and yet somehow so strong, making me understand once again that I'm all wrong. Frannie, Frannie, Fran, he says. Tha

Excerpted from Black and Blue: A Novel by Anna Quindlen
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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