Maggie Nelson's books rarely resemble one another. The meditations on gender, love and parenthood found in 2015's "The Argonauts" are stylistically far removed from the thoughts on art and violence shared in 2011's "The Art of Cruelty," for instance. Readers who have encountered Nelson's work before will likely spot recurring elements of her life, but she rarely repeats herself. Each book stands on its own, a unique treatment of a unique period in one person's life.

"The Red Parts," first published in 2007 and reissued now with a new preface, focuses on the long aftermath of a crime that loomed large in Nelson's family since before she was born.

In 1969, Nelson's Aunt Jane was murdered in Michigan. Nelson wrote about the then-unsolved case in 2005's "Jane: A Murder," which took an experimental approach to the storytelling.

Then, new DNA evidence pointed to a suspect, and several members of Nelson's family attended his trial. There are powerful accounts of the experience of watching the trial unfold, and a sympathetic portrait of the detective who investigated the crime. There are also scenes from the world that are disconnected from the legal proceedings: Nelson's flashbacks to the end of her parents' marriage, her memories of life on New York's Lower East Side, and the painful end of a relationship. And there are haunting meditations on mortality and motion, leading to some achingly beautiful lyrical imagery.

In her preface to the new edition, Nelson writes of the book as a "meditation on time's relationship to violence," and the murder at the center of this book isn't the only death or shocking act that looms large in it. Throughout "The Red Parts," Nelson remains aware of the perils of true-crime sensationalism — the trial was covered on TV by "48 Hours Mystery" — and of the literary territory she's entering. (Both James Ellroy's "My Dark Places" and Norman Mailer's "The Executioner's Song" make appearances.)

At one point early in the book, Nelson tells her mother that "some things might be worth telling simply because they happened." In the force and precision with which she tells this story, Nelson makes that case adeptly here. It's a haunting story of the aftermath of a death, but it's also a powerful examination of numerous aspects of life.

Tobias Carroll is managing editor of Vol 1 Brooklyn.

The Red Parts
By: Maggie Nelson
Publisher: Graywolf Press, 201 pages, $16.