Twenty-five years and a few months ago, as I flew to Los Angeles to be with friends of Nicole Brown Simpson, whose risk-filled, fatal marriage to O. J. Simpson I had written a book about, I chose as my plane reading Susanna Moore’s new, murder-laced novel, In the Cut. Like virtually every reviewer, I was knocked out by the escalating erotic mayhem that the book’s protagonist, a female N.Y.U. English professor, is drawn into. The proximity of obsession and murder to “normal” life spoke deeply to me at the moment that Nicole’s friends were revisiting fraught, darkly complicated moments in the couple’s life.
In the Cut was the fourth of Moore’s seven novels, which were published from 1982 to 2010 to enormous critical acclaim. (“Utterly wonderful,” said The Washington Post’s Jonathan Yardley of one, while Michiko Kakutani has called her early novels “fiercely observed” and “evocative.”) These and her memoirs have earned Moore prestigious literary awards and lecture appointments at Princeton and Yale.