“When all is said and done, killing my mother came easily.” That’s the first sentence of Alice Sebold’s new novel, which follows her best-selling “Lovely Bones,” the story of the rape and murder of a girl who tells her tale from beyond the grave. “The Lovely Bones” was Sebold’s second book. Her first was an account of her own rape, a memoir wryly titled “Lucky.”
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She isn’t being arch, in case you were wondering. “The Almost Moon” doesn’t waste our time with dark irony winding itself around complex psychology, à la Humbert Humbert, who described his own mother’s death with a parenthetical indifference verging on happy relief in Nabokov’s tediously multilayered novel. Sebold may not be as dreadfully earnest as Sophocles and Dostoyevsky, but she is sincere.
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Lee Siegel is a senior editor at The New Republic and the author, most recently, of “Not Remotely Controlled: Notes on Television.” His “Against the Machine: Being Human in the Age of the Electronic Mob” will be published in January.