(From the publisher):
Josie S___ has come with her mother Delia to live in her great-aunt Esther Burkhardt's house in upstate New York. Also living there is Josie's cousin, Jared, Jr., on leave from the Presbyterian seminary. Preoccupied with his studies, impeccably dressed in his starched white shirts, distant and mysterious, Jared, Jr., is an intriguing figure to Josie's curious and impressionable young mind. One summer afternoon, when Josie encounters Jared, Jr., at the riverbank behind the Burkhardt house, dark secrets are shared between them as an unnatural love blooms.
A moody sense of foreboding grips the reader from page one as religion, whispers of dark family secrets, violations of trust and virginity, bad blood, and a hint of incest all haunt the landscape of this startling tale of divided family loyalties, psychological manipulation, and the tangled strands of love and fear in the mind of a young girl groping for her way in one fractured American family.
Barry Moser's beautifully haunting woodcuts enhance the general sense of unease in this novel, and Joyce Carol Oates once again proves herself a master storyteller as she plunges into the mind of a confused girl in this disturbing tale of twentieth-century gothic Americana.
Original title: First Love
Genre: Fiction→ General Fiction