Whitney Pastorek
March 08, 2006 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Tenth Circle

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Jodi Picoult
publisher
Atria
genre
Fiction

We gave it an A

It would be a betrayal of the intricate work of Jodi Picoult’s 13th novel to divulge all the details here — the first three pages of this book will take your breath away. Still, here are the essentials: Daniel Stone is a graphic novelist. His wife, Laura, teaches Dante’s Inferno at the local college. And their 14-year-old daughter, Trixie, says she was raped by her ex-boyfriend. This is a family in full collapse, aided by too much deception and assumed familiarity; Picoult (My Sister’s Keeper) paints those shades deftly, never dipping her brush into the overwrought. Her imagery is thick with ravens and blizzards and other wild things, plus she wisely parallels the Stones’ saga with pages from Daniel’s latest comic-in-progress (drawn in real life by Dustin Weaver): the story of a man who must rescue his daughter from hell. The Tenth Circle lands, as Picoult might say, like a fat black crow on your chest.

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