A Leg in Oklahoma City

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A Leg in Oklahoma City takes place in 1994, 2001 and 2015, in Arcata, CA, and Oklahoma City. It is a story regarding the Alfred P. Murrah bombing in April 1995, written by Greg Hoetker. This is an emotional novel; however, there is a haunting quality to it. It’s a love story, but it is also a story about emptiness, hatred, and death. The strength of the novel is its originality and raw storytelling. There are parts that are unfiltered streams of consciousness, which gives the text a gritty and realistic feeling. The journals/interviews/final statement of Timothy McVeigh serves as a reminder of the factual events of the bombing, and the lives lost to anti-government obsession. Other sections are comprised of a straight-forward love story. The protagonist’s love is never given a name, adding a uniqueness to the novel, and the ending is a bit mysterious.

A Leg in Oklahoma City is a quick and enjoyable read. Because of the historical nature of the events, I was intrigued by how Hoetker would create a fictional account of the mysterious leg found by the forensics team which was never identified. I was looking for realism—a whodunnit type of novel—and was frustrated by the love story. The love story was a bit saccharine. I was also confused about whether the manifestos and thoughts of the terrorists were factual or re-created. It seems that they are creations of Hoetker’s that are based on his 20 years of research. It would have been helpful to have a clearer answer to that question, though, because the bombing was very real, but the novel a work of fiction. Once I decided to view it as a new myth of the event and time and place, it became haunting, dreamlike, and memorable. This is a mythology, and approaching it from that paradigm changes my view of the novel. I would encourage readers to think of it as such.

Reviewed By:

Author Greg Hoetker
Star Count /5
Format Trade
Page Count 245 pages
Publisher TRANS(form)ed Press
Publish Date 2019-11-19
ISBN 0000031220202
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue March 2020
Category Modern Literature


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