The Tattooed Girl (2003) Alma looks as if she's been scribbled on by an angry child. A web of tattoos covers her hands, a moth-shaped stain mars her face.… 2003-06-17 Fiction Ecco Press
Book Review

The Tattooed Girl (2003)

Joyce Carol Oates, The Tattooed Girl | 'GIRL' INTERUPTED Oates takes a tricky look at the nature of hate and its sources
'GIRL' INTERUPTED Oates takes a tricky look at the nature of hate and its sources
EW's GRADE
A-

Details Release Date: Jun 17, 2003; Writer: Joyce Carol Oates; Genre: Fiction; Publisher: Ecco Press

Alma looks as if she's been scribbled on by an angry child. A web of tattoos covers her hands, a moth-shaped stain mars her face. Meanwhile, Joshua Seigl's torment is interior: A one-hit literary sensation (he wrote an acclaimed Holocaust novel based on his family's experience), Seigl now doubts his abilities, first mental, then physical -- an unnamed disease is disabling him. The undereducated, discarded girl goes to work for the overeducated, celebrated man. The situation has deadly potential: Beneath her docile demeanor, Alma's a venomous anti-Semite. Oates takes a tricky look at the nature of hate and its sources --envy, rejection, love. Written from both Seigl's and Alma's perspectives, The Tattooed Girl is a complicated, sometimes sweet story rife with misunderstandings and missteps, unintended hurts and deliberate forgiveness. It will leave a mark.

Originally posted Jun 20, 2003 Published in issue #715 Jun 20, 2003 Order article reprints