Joyce Carol Oates is the Lon Chaney of literature - the writer of a 1,000 voices. She chilled me with the sociopathic journalising of ZOMBIE, delighted with the purposely pompous, sometimes Gothic narrative of THE MYSTERIES OF WINTERTHUN and in Maddie Wirtz, professional stargazer and former girl-gang member, she has again created a unique voice to tell a powerful and hard-hitting tale. The girls of FOXFIRE are teenagers from the wrong side of the tracks who band together to try and be self-reliant, strong, independent of male support and attention - ambitions that are particularly out of step in the 50s blue-collar community they are trying to escape. Their leader, the idealistic, fierce, uncompromising 'Legs' Sadovsky is an unforgettable character, a naive, knowing, charismatic person trying to set things right and be herself in world that has no patience for either righting or true selves. In the end though, it's Maddie's voice that carries the story, brilliantly captured sideways eloquence of someone who is intelligent, has lived through things that have marked her with a certain wisdom but also with a certain otherness, who has lost the love of her life but lived to tell the tale, is not a practiced writer, but has something to say, which is as important. A remarkable writerly feat, this immersion in a voice so un-writerly, and a remarkable story.
They made it into a movie starring Angelina Jolie. One glance at the film posters burned my eyes out.