As you know if you read this blog much, I am a fan of Joyce Carol Oates, so when I came across The
Joshua Seigl was a young mid-thirties author who was single and not in great health. He decided that he needed to hire an assistant to help him begin to get some organization of all of his files and writings from the past many years. He interviewed many males and was not satisfied with any of them. Then one day in a bookstore, Joshua came across Alma, a young woman who had recently begun working there, but didn't seem to be working out. Something about her interested him. She had tattoos on her hands and arms, but what Joshua found fascinating was a tattoo (or was it a birthmark?) on her face. He decided that he wanted Alma to be his assistant, even though he knew nothing about her, and she agreed to take on the job.
Alma appeared to be quite devoted to the job, but presented herself as a very simple, uneducated woman. Unbeknownst to Joshua, Alma harbored deep hatred toward Jews. She had a troubled past and was not really who she presented to be. However, she appeared very loyal to Joshua. As they worked together they began slowly to get to know each other and learned more about each other. More importantly, they began to learn more about themselves.
It was an interesting book...made me think about some issues that were in the book. It was worth reading, but I am not sure that I would wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone.