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The Tattooed Girl by Joyce Carol Oates
In The Tattooed Girl, Alma Busch, whose hands and body are covered with tattoos, is a woman hammered by life, bereft of compassion or an understanding of life. Joshua Seigl is a wealthy writer who became because of a book he wrote about the Holocaust. Suffering from a degenerative nerve condition, he is looking for a literary and personal assistant and upon meeting Alma, he hires her. Joshua finds himself attracted to Alma, perhaps out of sympathy and her simpleness. Alma, though, comes to hate Joshua for his wealth, privelege, and for being Jewish. It's a novel about bigotry, love, and the violence that changes lives forever. The Tattooed Girl has received mixed reviews, but the Portland Oregonian says it "has all the complex symmetry of a Gothic cathedral."