Notes on an Execution Author:Danya Kukafka A gripping and atmospheric work of literary suspense that deconstructs the story of a serial killer on death row, told primarily through the eyes of the women in his life. — Ansel Packer is scheduled to die in twelve hours. He knows what he’s done, and now awaits execution, the same chilling fate he forced on those girls, years ago. But Ans... more »el doesn’t want to die; he wants to be celebrated, understood.
Through a kaleidoscope of women—a mother, a sister, a homicide detective -- we learn the story of Ansel’s life. We meet his mother, Lavender, a seventeen-year-old girl pushed to desperation; Hazel, twin sister to Ansel’s wife, inseparable since birth, forced to watch helplessly as her sister’s relationship threatens to devour them all; and finally, Saffy, the detective hot on his trail, who has devoted herself to bringing bad men to justice but struggles to see her own life clearly. As the clock ticks down, these three women sift through the choices that culminate in tragedy, exploring the rippling fissures that such destruction inevitably leaves in its wake.
Blending breathtaking suspense with astonishing empathy, Notes on an Execution presents a chilling portrait of womanhood as it simultaneously unravels the familiar narrative of the American serial killer, interrogating our system of justice and our cultural obsession with crime stories, asking readers to consider the false promise of looking for meaning in the psyches of violent men.« less
I wasn't a fan of this book. I wanted to give it 2.5 stars and debated as to whether to round up or down. I rounded up but only because I think it has some redeeming qualities that will appeal to some readers. Upon further deliberation I think I need to round down. I did not like any of the characters (with the exception of Blue, who we didn't get to know very much). The writing is disjointed and did not work at all for me. Parts are written in 2nd person i.e. "You are in Death House." "You take out Blue's letter." etc. Then it switches to 3rd person for all the other characters not awaiting execution. I wanted to stop reading but I kept going mostly because I wanted to know who he was guilty of killing. This is more of a bleak drama than any mystery/thriller. In the end it didn't feel worth it to me.