The Assassins: A Book of Hours Summary
Joyce Carol Oates

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The Assassins: A Book of Hours Summary

Andrew Petrie, a character viewed in retrospect, was a charismatic overachiever whose personality and political philosophy inspired both awe and hatred. His image dominates the imaginations of the other three characters, the brothers Hugh and Stephen, and the widow Yvonne, all of whom are suffering from different forms of madness. Hugh is the most nervously active of the three, and literally drives himself mad by contemplating the social and moral implications of Andrew's death. Yvonne, obsessed with the personality of her late husband, sleeps in his study and plans to edit his papers for publication; she commits a kind of suttee, longing for a death that she accepts (if in fact it takes place) with a maddening and chilling calmness. Stephen, who is insane at the beginning of the novel, has achieved a kind of emotional stasis by appealing to religion for solace from the terror of life; in...

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