Read Defiance by Carole Maso Online


Bernadette O'Brien: child prodigy...professor of physics at Harvard...sentenced to die in the electric chair for the shocking murder of two male students. In her journal -- her "death book" as she calls it -- Bernadette takes a dark look back at the unfolding events that led to the extraordinary crime for which she stood trial.Defiance pulls us into the world of a lonely,Bernadette O'Brien: child prodigy...professor of physics at Harvard...sentenced to die in the electric chair for the shocking murder of two male students. In her journal -- her "death book" as she calls it -- Bernadette takes a dark look back at the unfolding events that led to the extraordinary crime for which she stood trial.Defiance pulls us into the world of a lonely, defiant, brilliant woman -- a misfit child, a girl-genius who left the working class, Irish Catholic world of Fall River, Massachusetts -- a stone's throw away from Cambridge -- who entered the halls of academic privilege at the age of 12, and stayed to rise within its ranks.In the incandescent, erotically charged prose for which she is known, Maso probes the depths of a female psyche -- inextricably embedded in a uniquely American matrix of sexuality, violence, and the clash of class difference -- as no writer before her has done....

Title : Defiance
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780525943075
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 264 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Defiance Reviews

  • Lisa
    2019-04-16 15:30

    "I don't normally read poetry, but...""I don't normally read plays, but...""I normally prefer plot-driven novels, but..."But what? What are you expecting from this book, anyway? Defenestrate your expectations, cast them into the fire. Strap them into an electric chair. Idefy you to give Maso a try. Slip into her prose, lush and loamy, only to come up for air when the weight of desolation has you gasping for breath.Before reaching the halfway point, I ran out to the used bookstore to snatch up two more of her books before they disappeared from the shelves. Oh, how hopeful that fear! Maso is so little read that I should've been happier to discover that her gems had fallen into the hands of another reader.Tinged with melancholia, frenzied accretion of scenes from a wretched childhood, Book of the Dead that stands in for the would-be love letter written by one nigh incapable of love. Words of other writers, Shakespeare and T.S. Eliot and who knows else, sounding bells of recognition. Yet so unlike anything I have ever read.Stretch a bloody veil of feminism and social justice overtop this bubbling brew and breathe in the heady fumes of this dark place borne of poverty.I know I am condemned to death in part for the crime of being unable to bear children. I know. Bloody placenta I pull around me and crawl in and assume that old position. I haven't been this in love with words in awhile.

  • Aubrey
    2019-03-31 18:33

    This notebook has been more of a companion than I could have imagined. How strange that I have come to know it at this late hour. One more thing to lose in this chronicle of loss. And to those of you who will read this later, with a kind of magnifying glass, combing it for clues—What is its message, blurred, in a cloud bottle, washed onto a strange shore. I am broken tonight. More than usual even. Into your hands, Liz. The brunt of my bewilderment.A clusterfuck, in the most deliciously visceral sense of the word. Change the hovering 'it was amazing' to 'it is important', and you'll be getting somewhere.I have to wonder how many turned tail at the sight of 'Feminism' hanging out in the Genres section of the book page. This is the same train of thought that bemuses itself over the word 'polemic' being bandied with witless ease as an excuse for plunging the rating downward. Along with political, subjective, obscene. Don't even get me started on the word hysterical.Try anger on for size. Fury, virulent coursing of blood and bone, seething in from unearned malice and spewing out in all forms and succulent fecundities. Whether 'tis just or not, unfortunately, depends on the perpetrator, and the 'Feminism' floating just above the 'Literary fiction' and sinking just below the 'Novels' should give you enough of an idea of just who fits the bill of 'righteous fury'. Patriarchy, anyone?So, this particular tract does not let us escape. Suspension of disbelief is rampant, yes, what with the child prodigy and the Harvard professor and the murder and the sadomasochistic spurts and schizophrenia and the female. Yes. Female, with boyfriends cooling in the fridge. If they were male? Too common, been there, done that, got the t-shirt and the slogan and the society wide acceptance for that particular strain of human discordia. Boys will be boys.Gender, class, race, intellect, sexuality, did I forget anything else? Religion, but in the barest sense of the phrase. Funnel the poor into hospitals and institutions and execution chambers unless they are very, very special. Special enough to merit that special cocktail of disbelieving glee, that dumbfounded savior complex that marvels at the genius that proved too much for all kinds of systematic oppression to contain. A gate breaker, for the realm within which she was supposed to stay has no place for her, not if she insists on doing as best she can. Yes, she. I'm afraid I must emphasize that till kingdom come and all the world's a stage for all players. You can have your white boys in lace and silk and person of colorface if you like that sort of thing but it's no substitute, what with its added tax of rape culture and involuntary female circumcision (notice the involuntary) and the lot.It's not me spinning my wheels here. Defiance splays it dressed to the nines, admittedly plunged in the swirling cacophony of thought seizing upon thought in the glory of intersection and mental blockages, but all you out there gaping for your next fix of 'difficult', that listy list of Shandy inspired and its so few women, come. Here's one reddening to rot on the vine for your perusal, and as an added bonus, I will even namedrop. Lessing, Morrison, Jelinek. You have no excuse.Leave your despised alone for once. Your feared, your wretched, your quarantined. Your homosexuals, your African-Americans, all your others, your women, your children. Your tired, your poor. Your refuse. Leave us be. You laugh. You choose to miss the subtext. You minimize everything. Nothing but hate and fear and ignorance. We hold these truths to be self-evident.My amoral moody aristocrats. Your wars, your drugs, your thousand assaults on the poor. War without end, amen.My eagle scouts. My heads of state. My government.Step right in. The water's ripe.

  • Nathan
    2019-03-21 23:31

    With trepidation to add words after reading a novel titled Defiance.Only a tentative and bold thesis.Defiance is the novel that we have been waiting for to set down beside Lolita. Perhaps a response? An answer? An antipode? But worthy of such a reading, with no hyperbole.And I hesitate to add my second thesis :: a novel like Defiance is the true inheritor of the tradition of novelistic realism ; that Realism looks like Defiance at the end of the twentieth century. You will want to read this and others from Maso’s pen.

  • Nate D
    2019-04-12 15:28

    Lyrical, brutal, and kaleidoscopic, a maximal life-study through repetition and pressure-fragmentation. Written at the end of the 90s, Maso's death-row-told story, of a Harvard professor who seduces and murders two of her students (and for what reason?), could be seen as a response and corrective to a decade of cultural fetishization of (mostly male) serial killers. Whatever most other accounts were up to, this is an entirely different beast,:as harsh and desperate as beautiful, collage-composition approach creating strange echoes and complicities or turning to total fugue-state, and pursuing broad cultural assessments. This my first brush with Maso, but she's an unsung wonder (besides being sung by Coover and many others on the back jacket -- so those in the know have clearly been knowing all along).

  • RK-ique
    2019-03-29 19:09

    Is this a novel? A poem perhaps? An ode or an elegy? "An Elegy on Pain and Suffering". A prelude to Buddhism. The world of pain and suffering where the compassion has not entered. A world where compassion is meaningless because it is not, cannot be, understood. Indeed, compassion in Defiance is not real. This is a world where life lacks any possibility of sense. Much like the one we live in.This is the Fall of humankind, perhaps more correctly, of womankind, because the suffering is tied to being a woman. It is a response to the horror of male betrayal, to male betrayal of the very possibility of compassion. The only salvation lies in death, death and revenge, beyond more exploitation by those who want to bring about a resurrection to continued suffering.And what pain and suffering... it's all there if a human can feel it: unwanted birth, poverty, Irish Catholic parents, drunken father, religious mother suffering sexual abuse in front of her young daughter (our heroine - Bernadette), illiterate brother abused by Catholic priest and dies at war, genius protagonist who cannot fit into this family, this world. Added to this is the betrayal of the one source of comfort. The betrayal that the reader is aware of in the tree house from the first page but must wait until the end to confirm. That betrayal, however, is there on every page. And then comes abortion, the sexual perversion, the resentment, the revenge, the violence, the murder, and it goes on... page after page. And the death wish that the reader seizes upon with every hope that Bernadette will die. I continued to read with a dread that she would survive, that there would be a stay of execution. The author, Carole Mason, keeps the reader suspended in the upper branches of the trees where the possibility of the fall into more life, more suffering, is always there.This book is not for everyone but it is so well written. There is so much pain that it would seem to be too much for one book, for one life, but it isn't too much. It is so very real. I don't know how Carole Maso wrote this, how she continued to write someone's pain for page after page.

  • Jessica
    2019-04-15 23:07

    This novel is written as a stream-of-consciousness of a murderer. The way this murderer's brain sends her endless loops of the same information--memories, mathematics, arguments, wishes--the way anybody's brain does, makes you see that she could be anybody. But despite the universal form, the particulars of the content of her looping thought let the reader realize that in fact she couldn't be just anyone. She has to be someone who has suffered loss and humiliation at unflagging levels for most of her life. It's a riveting book.

  • Crease
    2019-03-28 15:21

    The delicious arrogance of the prose...any legitimate review would be one's magnum opus.

  • Sue Davis
    2019-03-31 17:29

    Harvard Physics professor murdered two of her male students and writes about it from deathrow. Stream of consciousness, a send up to victim/therapy perspective?

  • Stephanie
    2019-04-01 17:25

    An uncomfortable read.

  • Kristin
    2019-04-03 22:28

    This book was much better than Ava in terms of structure and getting me to care for the characters. Ultimately, however, it began to have one of the same problems: it couldn't sustain my interest or concern for the main character / narrator. Because these are supposed to be her prison writings, it would make sense that the book would have some repetitions in it, some "ramblings." But it wasn't writing that was done with enough good language or good imagery to pull me through. Repetition, as Hejinian or Stein do, can work throughout a long volume if it becomes new each time. But Defiance didn't do that for me. I waited 30 pages sometimes for one of the jewels of story and description that Maso can do.I came so close to the end (within 30 pages) by forcing myself to continue reading, but I never finished it because I lost total interest. The rewards were just not worth the act of reading.

  • Jessica
    2019-03-27 22:18

    "Defiance" is written in the format of a journal/stream of conciousness of a mentally unstable genius who has murdered two young men. It follows her thoughts as she sits in prison on death row awaiting her execution. At times this book can be hard to follow as it jumps around from one subject to another... but you truly do feel as if you are reading the ramblings of a psychopath. It's definitely a challenging read.My book group read "Defiance" as one of our selections. Most people in the group did not enjoy the book and found it hard to follow and very disturbing.

  • Cherie
    2019-04-20 17:34

    B Fascinating tale, and you really get wrapped up in the weakened mental state of the narrator. Bernadette, a lonely and somewhat crazy professor, murdered two of her students. This book is written in her journal from prison, and you see how her thoughts deteriorate, and the horrible downward spiral. Fascinating, but admittedly hard to follow at times.

  • Bridget
    2019-04-10 21:14

    I love Maso's awareness and affection for language and for being with the page, and the plot was wild, brave and womanly. However, I gave it three stars for the weight of emotion the text was entrenched in. It was heavy and slow in areas I thought wasn't necessary.

  • Rebekkila
    2019-04-06 18:24

    This is one of those books that was so depressing that it seemed to affect my mood, so I stopped 63 pages from the end. The writing was not really my cup of tea, I like things written much more straight forward I felt like I was deciphering this as I went along.

  • Michelle Ross
    2019-04-18 16:14

    eh... not her best. I'm not all that tolerant of Maso in the first place though.

  • Dearwassily
    2019-04-02 15:29

    Poetry, but...not.

  • Kristi Brendle
    2019-03-30 23:16

    It's been a while since I read this. The premise was fascinating, a look into the mind of a criminal, but the lurid sex and strange childhood fixations were a bit much.