Ron Charles Reviews Rebecca Makkai’s Latest

‘I Have Some Questions for You’ is more than a murder mystery

Rebecca Makkai’s new novel deconstructs the well-worn tropes of the genre

ByRon Charles

Our love for murdered women doesn’t do them much good.

Stories of their deaths lure us to popular podcasts, TV investigations and magazine exposés. Their bodies — or parts of them — electrify best-selling thrillers and blockbuster movies. As a culture, we seem equally alarmed and aroused by these tales of slaughter.

In her devastating study of domestic violence, “No Visible Bruises,” Rachel Louise Snyder notes that 50,000 women around the world were murdered by their partners or family members in 2017. That’s about six lives snuffed out by a “loved one” every hour of every day.

One minor but grotesque marker of this epidemic is the way we struggle to keep the most shocking cases straight amid so many. Rebecca Makkai highlights that predicament throughout her troubling new novel, “I Have Some Questions for You.” It begins with people trying to remember which murdered woman they’re talking about:

“Wasn’t it the one where she was stabbed in — no. The one where she got in a cab with — different girl. The one where she went to the frat party, the one where he used a stick, the one where he used a hammer, the one where she picked him up from rehab and he — no. The one where he’d been watching her jog every day? The one where she made the mistake of telling him her period was late? The one with the uncle? Wait, the other one with the uncle?” Read the full review at the Washington Post.

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