“Successful because [Oates] refuses to satirize or dehumanize anyone, even murderous foes of abortion...With its wrath and violence, A Book of American Martyrs offers this teaspoon of warmth in these troubled times: that it is possible to be wrong without surrendering your humanity.” --Los Angeles Times
“The most relevant book of Oates’s half-century-long career, a powerful reminder that fiction can be as timely as this morning’s tweets but infinitely more illuminating.” --Washington Post
A powerfully resonant and provocative novel from American master and New York Times bestselling author Joyce Carol Oates
In this striking, enormously affecting novel, Joyce Carol Oates tells the story of two very different and yet intimately linked American families. Luther Dunphy is an ardent Evangelical who envisions himself as acting out God’s will when he assassinates an abortion provider in his small Ohio town while Augustus Voorhees, the idealistic but self-regarding doctor who is killed, leaves behind a wife and children scarred and embittered by grief.
In her moving, insightful portrait, Joyce Carol Oates fully inhabits the perspectives of two interwoven families whose destinies are defined by their warring convictions and squarely-but with great empathy-confronts an intractable, abiding rift in American society.
A Book of American Martyrs is a stunning, timely depiction of an issue hotly debated on a national stage but which makes itself felt most lastingly in communities torn apart by violence and hatred.
Which should prevail: loyalty to family or loyalty to the truth? Is telling the truth ever a mistake and is lying for one’s family ever justified? Can one do the right thing, but bitterly regret it?
My Life as a Rat follows Violet Rue Kerrigan, a young woman who looks back upon her life in exile from her family following her testimony, at age twelve, concerning what she knew to be the racist murder of an African-American boy by her older brothers. In a succession of vividly recalled episodes Violet contemplates the circumstances of her life as the initially beloved youngest child of seven Kerrigan children who inadvertently “informs” on her brothers, setting into motion their arrests and convictions and her own long estrangement.
Arresting and poignant, My Life as a Rat traces a life of banishment from a family—banishment from parents, siblings, and the Church—that forces Violet to discover her own identity, to break the powerful spell of family, and to emerge from her long exile as a “rat” into a transformed life.
Originally published in 1985, Solstice is the gripping story of Monica Jensen and Sheila Trask, two young women who are complete opposites yet find themselves irresistibly drawn to each other. Monica is a shy, modest, and recently divorced school teacher while Sheila is a worldly, sophisticated, and nocturnal painter driven by the needs of her art. Over the months, their friendship deepens, first to love and then to a near-fatal obsession.
Engaging, dark, and mysterious, Solstice is Joyce Carol Oates’s psychological masterpiece of friendship and fixation.
On Jenna Hall’s thirteen birthday, her mother committed suicide, a tragedy that continues to haunt the young woman twenty years later. Now, on her thirty-third birthday, Jenna’s pain over her mother’s death and abandonment is tempered by her hopes for a brighter future—of a happier life in the new home she’s buying with her beloved sister, Cassie.
While touring the house, Jenna finds a secret room—a portal that magically transports her to an alternate reality in which her mother is still alive. It is the first of many alternate existences Jenna will experience in which she discovers a different version of herself and the people she knows, both the living and the dead. Accompanying her on these mystical journeys is her ever-present guardian angel.
Traveling through these alternate realities, Jenna uncovers a long lost sibling, learns about her mother's past, reconnects with a childhood best friend, and meets her soul mate. Ultimately, she discovers newfound courage, confidence, forgiveness, and love—for herself, those around her, and those who are gone.
Enchanting and thoughtful, House of Cry explores the consequences of our daily choices and the power they have to shape our lives, reaffirming our faith in restoration and the possibility of personal transformation.
In 1965, neuroscientist Margot Sharpe meets the attractive, charismatic Elihu Hoopes—the “man without a shadow”—whose devastated memory, unable to store new experiences or to retrieve the old, will make him the most famous and most studied amnesiac in history. Over the course of the next thirty years, Margot herself becomes famous for her experiments with E. H.—and inadvertently falls in love with him, despite the ethical ambiguity of their affair, and though he remains forever elusive and mysterious to her, haunted by mysteries of the past.
The Man Without a Shadow tracks the intimate, illicit relationship between Margot and Eli, as scientist and subject embark upon an exploration of the labyrinthine mysteries of the human brain. Where does “memory” reside? Where is “love”? Is it possible to love an individual who cannot love you, who cannot “remember” you from one meeting to the next?
Made vivid by her exceptional eye for detail and her keen insight into the human psyche, The Man Without A Shadow is a unique story of forbidden love, a kind of secret, evolving marriage, depicted in Joyce Carol Oates’s tight, impassioned prose. It is an uncanny, ambitious, and structurally complex novel that penetrates the mind and illuminates the heart.