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Jane: A Murder

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Part elegy, part true crime story, this memoir-in-verse from the author of the award-winning The Argonauts expands the notion of how we tell stories and what form those stories take through the story of a murdered woman and the mystery surrounding her last hours. Jane tells the spectral story of the life and death of Maggie Nelson’s aunt Jane, who was murdered in 1969 while a first-year law student at the University of Michigan. Though officially unsolved, Jane’s murder was apparently the third in a series of seven brutal rape-murders in the area between 1967 and 1969. Nelson was born a few years after Jane’s death, and the narrative is suffused with the long shadow her murder cast over both the family and her psyche. Exploring the nature of this haunting incident via a collage of poetry, prose, dream-accounts, and documentary sources, including local and national newspapers, related “true crime” books such as The Michigan Murders and Killer Among Us , and fragments from Jane’s own diaries written when she was 13 and 21, its eight sections cover Jane’s childhood and early adulthood, her murder and its investigation, the direct and diffuse effect of her death on Nelson’s girlhood and sisterhood, and a trip to Michigan Nelson took with her mother (Jane’s sister) to retrace the path of Jane’s final hours. Each piece in Jane has its own form, and the movement from each piece to the next―along with the white space that surrounds each fragment―serve as important fissures, disrupting the tabloid, “page-turner” quality of the story, and eventually returning the reader to deeper questions about girlhood, empathy, identification, and the essentially unknowable aspects of another’s life and death. Equal parts a elegy, memoir, detective story, meditation on violence (and serial, sexual violence in particular), and conversation between the living and the dead, Jane ’s powerful and disturbing subject matter, combined with its innovations in genre, shows its readers what poetry is capable of―what kind of stories it can tell, and how it can tell them.

224 pages, Paperback

First published February 1, 2005

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About the author

Maggie Nelson

43 books3,521 followers
Maggie Nelson is the author of nine books of poetry and prose, many of which have become cult classics defying categorization. Her nonfiction titles include the National Book Critics Circle Award winner and New York Times bestseller The Argonauts (Graywolf Press, 2015), The Art of Cruelty: A Reckoning (Norton, 2011; a New York Times Notable Book of the Year), Bluets (Wave Books, 2009; named by Bookforum as one of the top 10 best books of the past 20 years), The Red Parts (Free Press, 2007; reissued by Graywolf, 2016), and Women, the New York School, and Other True Abstractions (U of Iowa Press, 2007). Her poetry titles include Something Bright, Then Holes (Soft Skull Press, 2007) and Jane: A Murder (Soft Skull, 2005; finalist for the PEN/ Martha Albrand Art of the Memoir). In 2016 she was awarded a MacArthur “genius” Fellowship. She has also been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in Nonfiction, an NEA in Poetry, an Innovative Literature Fellowship from Creative Capital, and an Arts Writers Fellowship from the Andy Warhol Foundation. She writes frequently on art, including recent catalogue essays on Carolee Schneemann and Matthew Barney. She holds a Ph.D. in English Literature from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and has taught literature, writing, art, criticism and theory at the New School, Pratt Institute, and Wesleyan University. For 12 years she taught in the School of Critical Studies at CalArts; in fall 2017 she will join the faculty of USC. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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5 stars
2,165 (47%)
4 stars
1,794 (39%)
3 stars
533 (11%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 465 reviews
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.3k followers
November 17, 2020
Update, 10/7/18: I pulled this book off the shelf this morning, having recently finished 2666, which is about the femicides in Juarez, Mexico, in the mid nineties. I also recently read I'll be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara about the Golden State serial killers. I feel like I grew up with all these horrific stories, Ted Bundy, reaching back to Jack the Ripper, this theme of male hatred for women, rooted in power more than anything else. We need to elect many more women, we need to raise everyone to be a feminist, to cut to the chase.

"I go on and do not know if I am going into darkness or to light and joy."--Dmitri, The Brothers Karamazov

I was 16 years old in 1969, the year Jane was murdered. It seemed to me the whole world knew about the “Michigan Murders” over a couple years, several women killed in the Ypsilanti-Ann Arbor area. But the news was on the front page of my local Grand Rapids Press and on local tv news programs all the time in the late sixties, along with the Richard Speck murders in that same time period in Chicago. Speck was convicted, and so also John Collins was convicted for life for one of the Ann Arbor murders, though it was generally known he killed as many as fifteen women. "Electrifying," as they often say about these things, but as with most serial murders, everyone is paying daily horrified attention.

Of those fifteen women, Jane was one that I really did recall. That's her 15 year old picture on the book cover, against blue sky. Maggie Nelson, a MacArthur (genius) Award winner, was born four years after her aunt Jane was killed, and at some point she decided to research and write about her mother’s sister. The format is multiple genre—mostly poetry from Nelson’s perspective, but we also have diary and journal entries from various stages of Jane’s life, we have excerpts from news articles, and some letters. Her parents, traumatized, burned most of Jane’s writing, but there was enough to give us a portrait of Jane as girl and woman, sometimes elegant, sometimes insightful, sometimes moving. Always stylistically interesting as a multi-genre inquiry into her aunt, and late sixties womanhood.

The effect is not always that deeply insightful or moving, actually, in my opinion. Sometimes it very much is, though, and when it is it is generally pretty insightful about what it means to grow up as a girl and woman in America. Sometimes it is very disturbing, of course. It is not overly sentimental, which is good, because it sure could have been. It's almost clinically clear and blunt at times.

Seven people (mostly young men of color) died violent deaths last Saturday here in Chicago, not all of them reported about in any detail. Two related questions: What is the long cultural obsession with dead (white) women about? (I also just read The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy, about a murdered white woman). But what is it about men killing women, anyway, now, then, forever, because that is what happens with many male—and most of them are male—serial killers?

Maybe every one of the murders committed every day everywhere deserves their own MacArthur-award winning author. Anyway, this could be a kind of model for one way to do it, richly textured and thoughtful.

Here’s a really interesting thing: Okay, there was never a trial for Jane in those years. They convicted Collins in 1970 for one murder and assumed that he had committed all the rest of them. But as Nelson was awaiting publication of this book, in 2004, 35 years after the murder, several years after she had been working on the book, the Ann Arbor police contacted her and her mother with the news that there was a DNA match and they would have a trial for Jane’s murder, which is in part the subject of The Red Parts, a memoir, which is essentially Jane: A Murder, part two.
Profile Image for Aubrey.
1,308 reviews758 followers
April 27, 2016
It is not the time to ask why these things happen,
but to have faith
, the reverend said,
and four hundred people wept.

Thirty years later the morning is quiet
and faithless. It is time
to ask questions.
In grade school I had a pen knife leftover from some trip to some national park. In high school I had a slow accumulation of blades from a store in the local Japantown, ones I am still coming across in odd corners of my part of the family house. The first time I went to university, I slept with a medieval monstrosity of a short sword beneath my pillow. The second time, the shelf nearest to the handheight of my bed contains a tissue box on the right and a buck knife on the left, the latter broken in such a way that it won't fold up and must lie there in its sheath, gleaming.
Her mother insisted on having an open casket,
to show everyone Jane was still whole.
If I fought back, would they call the display of his body's aftermath "reverential"? If I fought back, would they say the pearl luminescence apparent on his half-erect cock drove me past the point of simple sexual violation and into the territory of ultimate annihilation? How much of a cult following would I have. How ashamed of the man's end would his family be. The stigma the glory the enjoyment the encouragement the normalization of men's hatred of women, when the parents are expected to take resonsiblity for what was obviously the slipshod raising of a precious daughter, for the Madonna and the whore is a fall from glass encasement to free for all trash, and it's not the man's fault she threw away what womanhood the world respects and invited in such hubris, such a repercussion of fate.
So they guessed she wasn't raped
(but maybe killed)
because she had her period;

the newspapers reported that
her "sanitary napkin"
was found in place.

So what blood
is blood—
head-blood, cunt-blood

Black clots,
red streams
How we've fooled ourselves,

we who've spilled blood
into that which pollutes,
and that which redeems.
It's an old, old, old subject from an old, old, old time, and now, now, now, now, I still fantasize about what I will do when a body hurls itself in a haze of idea that they are predator and I am prey. Self-defense's exceedingly difficult to prove in the legal system of the United States, y'know. His screams will have to suffice.
Profile Image for Julie Ehlers.
1,111 reviews1,398 followers
September 30, 2018
The world is ours, but we walk in it

—Maggie Nelson

[T]he death, then, of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the world.
—Edgar Allan Poe, quoted in Jane: A Murder

All her life Maggie Nelson has been told she's reminiscent of her Aunt Jane, who was murdered at the age of 23, before Maggie was born. It's not too surprising, then, that Maggie chose to look into the murky circumstances surrounding Jane's death, but the resulting document is anything but a standard true-crime book. Comprised of Maggie's poems, excerpts from news articles and a salacious book about a series of Michigan murders, and numerous excerpts from Jane's journals, Jane: A Murder is a compelling dive into an unsolved mystery. In particular, Jane's journal entries provide a striking portrait of a young woman chafing against the restrictive mores of the time, in the sort urgent, raw language that's not actually meant for the eyes of others. The sense of kinship Maggie feels with Jane is obvious, and as a fan of Maggie Nelson's writing I was fascinated by the mingling of their voices. This is a beautiful, deeply impressive book.

For a more conventional look at Jane's murder, also check out Nelson's The Red Parts.
Profile Image for Sentimental Surrealist.
294 reviews48 followers
July 24, 2016
Not that I'm a very practical person or anything, but I wouldn't find it terribly practical to claim any quality gap between this and the Red Parts, Maggie Nelson's nonfiction analysis of similar events - they both concern the murder of an aunt Nelson never met but often found herself compared to - since they complement each other so well. The Red Parts, which picks up where Jane left off (the case reopened after evidence revealed the first round of trials had convicted the wrong man), seeks first to try and make sense of the events and then make whatever peace it can with their strangeness and senselessness. That also comes through here, albeit not as strongly, but what Jane: A Murder gets to claim as its own is something I'll often claim as a crucial facet of great literature - the transferred experience. Nelson picks up every aspect of her fascination with Jane and the startling impact the story must've had on her, and she transfers it over to me, the reader who so thoroughly and uncomfortably feels that fascination and that sense of having been startled. I remember having some quibbles with how the poems appeared on the page, their almost prosey rhythms, while still early in that book, but the deeper she gets into Jane's story, the more those same rhythms seem essential to how the work functions, and now that I've read it, I come away feeling that I'm somehow or other different for having been told this story. Only giving this four stars because Bluets and the Argonauts are on that next level.
Profile Image for Laura.
610 reviews322 followers
June 28, 2020
Tämä oli u p e a.
Koukuttava, teräväsanainen, tarkkanäköinen, niin maggienelsonmainen ja silti jälleen itselleni täysin uudella tavalla. Kaukana määritelmistä, tarpeeton lokeroida. Tutkielma eräästä murhasta, toisaalta myös nuorena ja kauniina kuolleiden valkoisten tyttöjen fetissoimisesta yhteiskunnassamme. Murhista, muttei samalla tavoin kuin lähes kaikissa muissa aihetta käsittelevissä teoksissa. Helppolukuinen, näennäistä keveyttään hurjasti painavampi teos.

5 tähteä Janelle, 4,5 Punaisille osille.
Profile Image for Sarah.
1,212 reviews35 followers
October 3, 2018
As my GR friend Julie mentioned in her excellent review, this is like a less conventional companion piece to The Red Parts, Nelson's other book about her aunt's murder in 1969.

Where The Red Parts is more of a classic non-fiction/literary true crime piece, Jane: A Murder is more abstract and poetic look at Jane's life and the lead up and aftermath of her murder. The book is made up of poems, excerpts from Jane's diary and news reports of the murder, among other narrative devices.

Absorbing and engaging, although I initially found this less satisfying than The Red Parts after giving it some thought I think this is perhaps even better.
Profile Image for Ulla | tarinannuppuja.
128 reviews109 followers
July 26, 2020
Rakastuin. Vaikutuin. Liikutuin. Maggie Nelsonin Jane / Punaiset osat hipoo (Kustantamo S & S, 2020) hipoo täydellisyyttä.

Neljä vuotta ennen Maggie Nelsonin syntymää hänen parikymppinen Jane-tätinsä murhataan raa’asti. Miten käsittämätön väkivallanteko vaikuttaa Nelsonin perheeseen ja Nelsonin lapsuuteen? Tätä kirjailija tutkailee kahden teoksen duologiassa, jotka ilmestyivät suomeksi yhtenä niteenä. Jane-teos on proosarunoutta ja Janen omia päiväkirjakatkelmia yhdistelevä kirja, jonka poljennossa on paljon samaa kuin Sarah Crossanin säeromaaneissa. Proosamuodon saaneessa jatko-osassa Punaiset osat Nelson dokumentoi oikeudenkäyntiä, kun Janen murhatapaukseen löytyy uusi epäilty yli 30 vuotta murhan jälkeen. Kirjat täydentävät toisiaan vavahduttavalla tavalla.

Tässä kirjassa on niin moni asia kohdallaan! Olen aikaisemmin lukenut Nelsonilta Sinelmiä-kirjan ja huomasin solahtavani Nelsonin sanojen rytmiin vaivattomasti tämän uudenkin käännöksen kohdalla. Kuin olisin palannut kotiin, johon ei tiennyt kaipaavani! Kirjan narratiivi on hurjan koukuttava. Vaikka teos istuu kauniisti trendikkääseen true crime -tarinoiden aikaan, Nelson myös pohtii kriittisesti sitä, miksi tarinoiden keskiössä on aina murhattu valkoinen nainen. Naiseus, väkivaltakulttuuri ja feminismi kietoutuvat yhteen.

Tämä teos on ehdottomasti paras kirja, jonka olen lukenut tänä vuonna. Kirja on paikoin raaka ja järkyttävä, jopa siinä määrin, että jouduin hyppäämään yli muutamasta kaameimmasta kuvauksesta. Samanaikaisesti kirja kuvaa koskettavasti ja raastavasti surua ja tapoja käsitellä sitä. 5/5
Profile Image for Ellie.
1,475 reviews372 followers
April 21, 2018
Jane: A Murder is a psychological investigation into the murder of Nelson's aunt, committed before Nelson's birth, although it echos through her life, through her mother 's grief and questions. Jane was murdered at 23 by an unknown killer, although believed to be a serial killer moving his way through Michigan. Jane is a fiery spirit, at odds with her family on the night she died, en route to tell them she was marrying a man she knew they would not approve of: a Jewish Marxist (two counts against him). Her family is left broken, their daughter removed before a peace could be made, a peace often made years later after marriage and children and age mellows everyone. But no one will ever know if that would have happened.

The book is an interesting mix of genres: poetry, journal entries written up as poems, fantasies, factual narratives. Nelson uses her aunt's journals, full of questions, self-doubt, excitement. She questions our country's passion for serial killers and the deaths of young women, her own curiosity part of that questioning. We meet her mother and her sister and the struggles of her own family, especially her sister's rebellion which seems to mirror her aunt's.

This is not my favorite Nelson; I prefer her less obvious, more complex works, but it kept me deeply engaged throughout. I was drawn into it and the life of her aunt. I have just read the later work, Red Parts, in which, many years after the crime, a man is arrested and tried for it. It would probably be better to read the books in reverse order but I found it interesting to read Jane in light of the later work. What I see as the mystery contained in Jane, the mystery of any life cut short, the mystery held by any other human (perhaps even our selves to ourselves) remains clear in the first book.
Profile Image for Katri.
754 reviews86 followers
December 15, 2021
Tämä oli mahtava!

Erikoinen, taitava ja koukuttava. Oli lopulta luettava tämä lähes yhtä kyytiä alusta loppuun, koska oli vain pakko saada tietää kaikki ja heti. En voinut alkaa nukkua, ennen kuin pääsin loppuun asti. Nelson kirjoittaa niin hyvin.

Kirja koostuu kahdesta eri teoksesta (Jane & Punaiset osat), ja se tekee siitä todella ainutlaatuisen monellakin tapaa. Tässä kirjassa yhdistyy tavallaan true crime, autofiktio, murhamysteeri, elämäkerrallisuus ja runous, mutta silti se on ihan oma juttunsa. Kirjan kokonaisuuden synty on jo itsessään oma juttunsa!

Ja vaikka itse en ole vieläkään oikein oppinut lukemaan runoutta, niin tässä oli ensimmäinen teos, jossa se meni tuosta vain, koska no, se ei ollut perinteistä runoutta ja se kietoutui tosielämän murhan ympärille, sisälsi päiväkirjamerkintöjä ja kirjeitä. Siis en ole koskaan ennen koukuttunut runomuotoiseen tekstiin.

Tämä oli parempaa kuin yksikään koskaan lukemani dekkari. Tuntuu tavallaan väärältä sanoa tämä kaikki, koska samaan aikaan en todellakaan halua ihannoida sitä, että kirjailijan perhe on joutunut kokemaan tilanteen, jossa heidän läheisensä murhataan.

Kirjailija kuitenkin käsittelee tätä hänenkin elämäänsä vaikuttanut asiaa. Ratkaisematon murha kenen tahansa suvussa vaatii käsittelyä. Nelson kirjoittaa todella koukuttavasti, mutta romantisoimatta tai kaunistelematta murhaa. Samalla hän kirjoittaa omasta elämästään.

Täytyy vielä vähän käsitellä tätä omassa päässäni, mutta kun lukee kerralla yli 400 sivua, niin se on aika maagista.
Profile Image for Sara.
315 reviews43 followers
July 29, 2020
Tämä oli hyvä, paljon parempi kuin hypetetyt Bluets ja Argonautit. Inhoan namedroppailua, ja juuri siihen Nelson uudemmissa teoksissaan syyllistyy. Mitä iloa on nimen tai teoksen mainitsemisesta, jos lähteestä ei esitä omaa tulkintaansa tai avaa sen merkitystä omalle tekstilleen? Pätemisen ja omalla lukeneisuudella kerskailun ilo on ainoa, jonka keksin, ja sillä ei meigämunakkaalta sympatiaa heru.

Jane ja Punaiset osat mielestäni lunastavat ne kehut, joita Nelsonin it-teoksille on sadellut. Nelson yhdistää hienosti teoriaa, populaarikulttuuria ja henkilökohtaisia kokemuksiaan. Erityisesti minussa resonoi murhattuja ja raiskattuja naisia koskevien puhetapojen analyysi. Raiskauskulttuuri lävistää lähes koko yhteiskunnan, ja Nelsonin teksti paljastaa niitä diskursseja, jotka tuottavat tuota naisille hengenvaarallista kulttuuria.

Vetävästi kirjoitettu ja mukavan imuisa, helppo suositella!
Profile Image for Mike.
108 reviews247 followers
March 8, 2011
Deserves a place with the very best and most emotionally wrenching contemporary nonfiction: Anne Carson's Nox, John D'Agata's About a Mountain, and Ms. Nelson's own masterpiece, Bluets. Essential.
Profile Image for Heidi.
857 reviews66 followers
June 21, 2020
Nelson on huikea.

Teospari, joka sopii niin runouden, true crimen, perhesaagojen, draaman, yhteiskunta-analyysin, naisasiakirjallisuuden kuin populäärin tietokirjallisuuden ystäville. Vau vau vau.

Murhasta ja siitä eteenpäin.
Profile Image for Christopher Howard.
73 reviews94 followers
February 28, 2022
I read this today—in a day: what a brag, no? Although I say that knowing that much more time could (and deserves to be) spent on such a work.

Maggie Nelson is (so say the McArthur Fellas) a genius. She is if you consider poetry-minded people one sort of genius, anyway.

I read this because I recommended it to a friend who likes True Crime books, and since I hadn't read it yet even though I recommended she read it, I figured I might as well read it first to make sure I wasn't recommending trash to her without knowing it.

Fortunately, I know the McArthur folks aren't dummies, and they gave money (at some point. Maybe after this was written,) to this smart lady who wrote a very sad book about the death of her aunt.

There was a point in the book (I'm pretty sure; I already lent it to a friend so I can't look back on the text now) where her mother, the sister of the deceased sister, is asked if she wants to have children, and the mother says she hadn't considered it before. It is extremely sad to think that the murder of her sister is what encouraged her to bring life into this life.

Reading that, it made me consider intergenerational trauma: how Maggie's aunt's death might have written a version of her own identity onto her. I recall a part of the text where it felt like Maggie was running from her own existence: maybe a recollection of the murder which brought her, perhaps, into existence.

This has been my favorite Maggie Nelson book I've read so far, sadly. I'd like to read more of her. The Red Parts will be one I'll read. I'm surprised nobody has brought to the forefront yet that when they say the Red Parts, they might mean the Red Parts of the Red Letter text of the Bible–the Jesus' own words parts–which I have at home. Sorry to bring that into it if that isn't your cuppa. I was just personally interested in that reading of that part when the Red Parts were mentioned in this book.

Sorry that this is all so poorly put together. I wrote it all on my phone, and it could be done much more carefully, if anyone were to request that it could be.
Profile Image for Lynn.
Author 1 book48 followers
August 30, 2016
I read Nelson's book The Red Parts mostly because I knew it was about a murder, and it's relevant to a project I'm working on.
Jane: A Murder is the first book of the two related books. At first I didn't like it as much as The Red Parts, but having finished it, I like it more.
This book is poetry, and it's more lyrical, obviously, and I like the way she weaves in a lot of information and letters and parts of Jane's journals. She also moves around in time in ways that are interesting.
I think the book holds together pretty well and incorporates many points of view.
Pretty helpful for my project.
Profile Image for Marc.
766 reviews108 followers
September 22, 2020
Nelson creates an intricate textual exploration into the fragmentary process of dealing with grief, loss, unsolved crime and violence, and the kind of shadow a family member can cast over an entirely family when they die young and unnaturally. Weaving her aunt's journal entries, her own poetry, news reports, and more, the book serves as both an inquiry into Jane's death and a tribute to her life. Although, mostly presented in verse form in terms of line breaks and spacing, it reads with the kind of momentum a prose drama might as it pulls you ever deeper into the pain, confusion, and loss the Mixer family experienced. Nelson is one of only a few writers who seem to create and leverage such an exquisite tension between the analytical and the emotional in their writing.
an excerpt:


They knew how to mourn
with dignity

my mother says.
It's the Calvinist way.

As if keening on your knees
were somehow obscene

As if there were a control
so marvelous

you could teach it
to eat pain.
Profile Image for Katja.
103 reviews1 follower
July 1, 2020
Nelsonin teksti ruokkii älyä ja sydäntä. Hieno teospari yksissä kansissa. ♥
Profile Image for Readerwhy.
450 reviews64 followers
June 17, 2020
"me jotka olemme erotelleet veren
sellaiseen, joka saastuttaa,
ja sellaiseen, joka lunastaa"

Maggie Nelsonin täti Jane Mixer murhattiin maaliskuussa 1969. Jane oli tuolloin 23-vuotias.

Janen murha oli osa ns. Michigan-murhia eli seitsemän nuoren naisen murhaa, jotka tapahtuivat vuosina 1967-1969 Yhdysvaltain Michiganissa. Vaikka murhien tekijästä ei edelleenkään ole täyttä varmuutta uskotaan yleisesti, että kaikkien niiden takana on mies nimeltä John Norman Collins. Hän kärsii elinikäistä vankeustuomiota Marquette Branch -nimisessä vankilassa.

Ajatus siitä, että Collins on oikea ihminen, joka elää vankilassa tälläkin hetkellä häiritsee minua järkyttävän paljon. En voi selittää mitään pois fiktiivisyyden varjolla.

Michigan-murhiin liittyvät tiedot ovat tarkistettavissa virallisista läheistä. Ne ovat ydin, jonka ympärille - Nelsonin tätiin tarkentuen - rakentuvat niin Jane kuin Punaiset osatkin.

Maggie Nelson syntyi lähes päivälleen neljä vuotta tätinsä murhan jälkeen ja näissä kahdessa kirjassa hän kuvaa niin Janea kuin 36 vuotta tämän kuolemaan jälkeen käytyä oikeudenkäyntiä.

'Jane' on dokumentaarisesti painottunutta runoutta ja koostuu Janen päiväkirjamerkinnöistä, kirjeistä sekä Maggien itse kirjoittamista runoista. Se on runomuotoinen tulkinta Janen elämästä ennen murhaa.

Kerromme itsellemme tarinoita voidaksemme elää, aloittaa Joan Didion esseekokoelmansa The White Album, mutta jatkaa jo hetken päästä: Tai ainakin jonkin aikaa uskomme niin.

Punaisten osien lopussa Maggie muistuttaa, että vaikka tarinat voivat olla elintärkeitä, saattavat ne johtaa kirjoittajansa myös ansaan ja tuottaa "valtavaa tuskaa." Tarinoiden kirjoittamiseen sisältyy väistämättä

"vääristelyä, systematisointia, syyttelyä, suurentelua, rajaamista, pois jättämistä, petoksia, mytologisointia"

Mietin rakkaimpia tarinoitani. Niitä, joita olen antanut itseni kertoa itselleni vuosia ja vuosikymmeniä. Mikä niissä on totta? Mikä niissä on sellaista valhetta, joka kietoutuu ympärilleni kuin vankilan muurit?

Koskaan kaikkea ei voi kertoa ihan niin kuin se tapahtui. Tämä on pakko hyväksyä.

'Janen' runomuoto tekee siitä totuudellisemman kuin mitä se voisi olla tarinana. On hämmentävää, miten tutuilta jotkut Janen päiväkirjan lauseet kuulostavat.

"Mutta kaikki ilot ja surut ja järkytykset
auttavat meitä löytämään itsemme, auttavat

oikeasti arvokasta elämää. Kaikki järkytykset
luonnetta ja sitä mikä minusta tulee."

Nämä ja monet muut Janen lauseet. Melkein sanasta sanaan vanhoissa päiväkirjoissani.

Sellainen nuoruuden piste. Riippumatta ajasta tai paikasta. Sellainen viisaus, joka myöhemmin alkoi tuntua nololta ja vielä myöhemmin osoittautui todeksi. Sellainen tunne, että nuorena tiesi kaiken ja käytti vuosia tietämänsä kyseenalaistamiseen vain joutuakseen toteamaan, että niinhän se oli ja opetteli sanomaan sen, mistä päiväkirjoissaan nuorena kirjoitti toisin sanoin, joiden halusi uskoa olevan vähemmän naiiveja.

Sanoissa veren kierto halki aikojen, läpi nuorten tyttöjen sydänten. Jalkojen välissä saastainen veri. Golgatan mäellä lunastava veri.

'Jane' herättää Janen henkiin. Kuuntelen hänen ääntään ja luen hänen merkintöjään. Hän voisi olla tyttö omasta menneisyydestäni aina siihen asti kunnes hänestä tuli kauniisti hautausmaalle asetettu ruumis.

Lehdistö rakastaa kauniiden nuorten naisten ruumiita. Ne ovat ruumiiden ykkösluokkaa.
Nuorista naisista kirjoitetaan, että "hänellä oli koko elämä edessään" ja tämä tunteisiin vetoava ilmaus yhdistetään "puolipornografisiin kuvauksiin kunkin tytön kärsimästä väkivallasta."

Don DeLillo. Olipa yllätys löytää sinut keskeltä 'Janea'.

Se johtuu 'Janen' ladosta. "Se oli hylätty lato sivussa LeForge Roadilta, / niitä paikkoja joissa nuoriso käy / juomassa ja naimassa."

DeLillo Valkoisessa kohinassa. "No one sees the barn…Once you’ve seen the signs about the barn, it becomes impossible to see the barn…we’re not here to capture an image, we’re here to maintain one."

Löydän 'Janesta' ladon, jonka olen mielessäni kuvitellut Valkoista kohinaa lukiessani. Lato kasvaa. Harmaaseinäinen lato. Siitä tulee symboli. Jollekin. Sen mieleni sisäisenä esikuvana saattaa olla joku näkemäni jo kauan sitten unohdettu Oikean Elämän lato.

En osaa sanoa, miksi edellinen on tärkeää, mutta koska se tuntuu tärkeältä, jätän sen tähän.

Siitä, että uskallan tehdä niin kiitän Kate Zambrenoa ja hänen teostaan Heroines.

Punaisissa osissa Nelson kuvaa Janen murhaoikeudenkäyntiä yksityiskohtaisen läheltä.

Kirjallisuudentutkija Aura Sevón on ehdottanut käytettäväksi ilmaisua monigenreinen teoksista, jotka ovat genrehybridejä, useita eri genrejä itseensä sekoittavia. Sevón on maininnut esimerkkinä monigenreisistä teoksista juuri Nelsonin Argonautit ja Sinelmiä. Yhtä lailla monigenreinen sopii kuvaamaan myös 'Janea' ja Punaisia osia.

Punaiset osat lähestyy yhdeltä pinnaltaan ns. true crime -kerrontaa, jossa kuvauksen kohteena on todellinen rikostapahtuma. Sitä voisi kutsua myös muistelmiksi, koska kyse on ei-fiktiivisestä tekstistä, joka on kerrottu muistelmille tyypillisesti minäkertojan kautta. True crimeen ja muistelmiin sekoittuu autofiktio. Joku ehkä kutsuisi Punaisia osia lyyriseksi esseeksi, vaikka minä en nyt tässä niin teekään.

Se, että Punaiset osat on monigenreinen, on olennaisesti tärkeämpää kuin pyrkiä todistelemaan, mitä genrelajeja Nelsonin teoksesta löytyy.

Eri genrejen yhtäaikaisesta läsnäolosta syntyy lopputulos, joka Maaria Ylinkankaan sanoin "rakentaa rosoista, taktiilista tekstipintaa." Liukumat eri genrejen välillä tuottavat tekstiä, johon mikään tietty genre yksinään ei pystyisi.

Kun luen Punaisia osia tiukasti vieressäni on Nelsonin henkiin herättämä Jane.

Sama Jane, joka heijastetaan valokuvina oikeussalin seinille. Hänen kaulansa, jonka kuristusjälki on niin syvä, että vain vähän enemmän ja se olisi katkennut.

Jane, joka kirjoitti

"Minulla on niin paljon ja olen niin onnekas, miten kukaanvoisi pyytää enempää? Olen onnellinen. Voi olla, että huo-menna en ole, eilen en ollut, mutta NYT olen eikä muullaole merkitytä. Nyt!"

Argonautit, Sinelmiä ja Jane/Punaiset osat ovat keskenään hyvin erilaisia teoksia. Argonauttien lukemistani hallitsi kysymykset identiteetistä ja ajattelun mahdollisuuksista . Sinelmien seurassa uin estetiikan hulmuavissa helmoissa. Jane/Punaiset osat taas menee suoraan tunteisiin kuin kuva, jonka nähtyään sitä ei enää saa näkemättömäksi.

Nelsonin tapa yhdistää tekstiinsä eri genrejä luo siihen tiloja, jotka ovat juuri sillä tapaa mahdottomia määritellä, että tuntuu kuin lukiessa olisi tekemisissä oman alitajuntansa kanssa. Mitä muistoja nousee? Mitä unohdettua paljastuu?

Tekstin visuaalisuus ottaa syliinsä, eikä anna paeta, vaikka välillä niin tekisikin mieli tehdä. On pakko kestää Janen murha yhä uudestaan. Janen/Punaisten osien intensiteetti tuntuu mahanpohjassa asti. Nelsonin tekstissä on ihmeellinen voima.
Profile Image for Lizzie (TwoFaceLizzie).
91 reviews364 followers
June 8, 2022
TW : féminicide

Deux livres en un :
- Jane, un meurtre : Poèmes, extraits de journaux de Jane, la tante de Maggie Nelson qui a été assassinée alors qu'elle avait une vingtaine d'années, de lettres, de réflexions de Maggie Nelson et de bouts d'enquêtes.
- Une partie rouge : Récit du procès de Gary Earl Leiterman, dont l'ADN a été trouvé sur Jane trente ans après sa mort, et auquel Maggie Nelson a assisté avec sa famille.

Exceptionnel. Très violent, car très réel.
Profile Image for robyn.
419 reviews95 followers
April 4, 2023
4.5 - i have beef with maggie nelson over something extremely dipshitted she said a while back that i now only half-remember but goddamn can she write. i will grant that in this aspect she was undoubtedly aided by the subject matter which really doesn’t need much treatment in order to be rendered elegiac and powerful but nonetheless on the whole i thought this was breathtaking
Profile Image for Jennifer.
Author 5 books20 followers
April 22, 2021
As someone who enjoys the occasional true crime, I have noticed that books dealing with real life murder tend to reduce the victims to just victims. Even if some time is given to victims' lives, their lives are often framed as though they were fated to be murdered. What I appreciate about Maggie Nelson's Jane: A Murder is that its about reconstructing Nelson's aunt Jane. Nelson is trying to get to know and understand a woman she has never met but whose life and presence is felt in Nelson's life. By using excerpts of Jane's journal, we do not meet someone who has be rendered angelic, too good for this world, by tragedy and memory, but rather a person flawed and full of life. The greatest mystery is not who murdered her, but rather the mystery that all people carry, who she is.
Profile Image for Kasey Jueds.
Author 4 books61 followers
June 18, 2012
I'm pretty sure Maggie Nelson is a genius. I've now read almost all of her books, and they are all so different in some ways--in terms of style and genre, in particular--and at the same time are full of common, compelling threads. And they all, too, are full of heart and wisdom and generosity. Nelson's concerned with intimacy, love, family, the many forms of heartbrokenness, and violence, both physical and emotional. Jane: A Murder is a hybrid book--poetry, excerpts from nonfiction texts and from Jane's (Nelson's murdered aunt) real journals, letters, dreams. I read it in two sittings and was amazed, and incredibly moved, by it.
Profile Image for Samantha.
Author 11 books58 followers
August 24, 2017
I'm more enamored with the hybridity of this book than anything else. Maggie Nelson uses poetry, news clips, police documents, and her murdered aunt's own journal entries to turn this story into more than what otherwise may have been a simple true crime book. The result is a book that speaks on so many levels - it's an account of her aunt's murder and Nelson's investigation into it, but it pulls in so much else about girlhood and family and the way society perceives crimes against women. Really, there's so much packed into such a little book, whether you like poetry, sociology, or murder mysteries.
Profile Image for Linnea.
1,282 reviews39 followers
August 1, 2020
Rakastan Maggie Nelsonia.

Jane / Punaiset osat on kauhea ja ihana yhteisteos. On tädin selvittämätön murha, suvussa kulkeva tarina, ja siskontytär joka yrittää ymmärtää ja laittaa palasia järjestykseen. Ja on uudelleen avattu tutkinta, ihan yllättäen, ja oikeudenkäynti, josta yritetään selvitä perheenä, yritetään ymmärtää ja olla vaipumatta true crime -genren mutaisimpiin syövereihin.

Luin tätä kallioilla, ravintolassa, illalla sängyssä, rannalla, aina täysin keskittyneenä. Huima.
Profile Image for Soula Kosti.
246 reviews60 followers
April 15, 2023
“But there can be
holes in time
the mind tries

to ignore, holes
that perforate
the felt of

the night sky.”

In Jane: A murder, Maggie Nelson writes about her aunt Jane’s unsolved murder in the form of poems. These poems include articles on the investigation, snippets of Jane’s diary, and memories that the author had from discussing her aunt with other family members.
Profile Image for Gina.
Author 6 books66 followers
December 6, 2008
holy shit is this good, and hard to read, and incredibly sad but gorgeously written. part fictional memoir, part biography, part autobiography, part gift.
Profile Image for Leah.
539 reviews2 followers
March 1, 2022
her writing is so simple, but so precise and cutting. the format of mixing diary entries with poems from maggie nelson's present day experience learning about her aunt's life was very effective. it did feel somewhat slight overall, without some of the depth and complexity that you get from The Red Parts
Profile Image for nathan.
308 reviews141 followers
April 19, 2023
Thinks of all the things we ask and wonder when we feel death as that poignant push into some kind of ether. The world looks a bit different, and it's in the mystery, in all the hypotheticals, does Nelson search for some kind of solace in research and reaching out.

Lethargic, heartfelt, and experimental in form, Nelson essentially does what Capote did with the Clutter family for our contemporary world.
Profile Image for Lovis.
22 reviews3 followers
August 10, 2021
I know that my feelings
toward both parents will soften

but now the thought of these people
being my parents sounds utterly repulsive

and I almost feel sick.
I have come to the point

where home is unbearable
and I will do anything to escape from it.

I feel sorry that I feel this way and regret
that our previous good times

are spoiled. Someday perhaps
my feelings toward my parents

will change, but until then
I’m afraid they and myself

will have a pretty tough time.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 465 reviews

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