Black Water is a haunting narrative of the final moments of Kelly Kelleher, a young woman whose impulsive decision to pursue her attraction to an older man leads to her death in a car accident. Kelleher, of course, is a stand-in for Mary Jo Kopechne, the young woman who lost her life in a car accident with Ted Kennedy at Chappaquiddick in 1969. I found it interesting that Oates chose to update the story to the early '90s (contemporary for when the book was written) and write The Senator as Kennedy in his mid-50s rather than the young rising political star whose presidential aspirations were thwarted by the scandal. But this isn't a story about Kennedy's lost dreams. It's about giving voice to the young woman who lost her life, whose name has become a footnote in the history of political scandals. The story is fractured, fragmented and repetitive, but it's a structure that works to capture those last frantic, hopeful moments when death is closing in but Kelly keeps faith in her Senator to rescue her. It's sad and tragic and thoroughly absorbing. I felt for Kelly. I even felt for The Senator, who was a very real, very flawed man trying to live up to others' expectations of him.