Manipulating the manipulator?
Loretta Parlow is a highly successful Joyce Carol Oatesish writer with more than a touch of creepiness. Her neighbor, Andrea Geller, is a ne’er do well younger artist with poor self awareness and a victim mentality. Andrea’s father is dead and she feels that his death wasn’t really an accident, that his death came about at the hands of her stepmother. She attempts to get Loretta interested in using the story in one of her novels. But Andrea is surprised (but shouldn’t be) at what happens next.
The story is about how great artists are vampires and have no real care for the human beings whose stories and lives they chew up and spit out. For the mechanics of the plot Andrea’s belief in her stepmother’s guilt is supposed to be an obsession, but it didn’t really feel like that to me. Andrea’s energy seems too low for obsessions. She is the prey and Loretta Parlow the predator. I found it difficult to keep reading, as the story was unrelievedly grim, humorless, and it felt like the author was torturing the characters. At the beginning, the stakes felt low although at the end the story was gripping (but unpleasant).
I probably require a chuckle or two embedded somewhere.