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We Were The Mulvaneys

by Joyce Carol Oates
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Product Details

  • Publisher: Fourth Estate Ltd
  • Publishing date: 02/07/2001
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9781841156996
  • ISBN: 184115699X

Synopsis

A happy family, the Mulvaneys. After decades of marriage, Mom and Dad are still in love--and the proud parents of a brood of youngsters that includes a star athlete, a class valedictorian, and a popular cheerleader. Home is an idyllic place called High Point Farm. And the bonds of attachment within this all-American clan do seem both deep and unconditional: "Mom paused again, drawing in her breath sharply, her eyes suffused with a special lustre, gazing upon her family one by one, with what crazy unbounded love she gazed upon us, and at such a moment my heart would contract as if this woman who was my mother had slipped her fingers inside my rib cage to contain it, as you might hold a wild, thrashing bird to comfort it."

But as we all know, Eden can't last forever. And in the hands of Joyce Carol Oates, who's chronicled just about every variety of familial dysfunction, you know the fall from grace is going to be a doozy. By the time all is said and done, a rape occurs, a daughter is exiled, much alcohol is consumed, and the farm is lost. Even to recount these events in retrospect is a trial for the Mulvaney offspring, one of whom declares: "When I say this is a hard reckoning I mean it's been like squeezing thick drops of blood from my veins." In the hands of a lesser writer, this could be the stuff of a bad television movie. But this is Oates's 26th novel, and by now she knows her material and her craft to perfection. We Were the Mulvaneys is populated with such richly observed and complex characters that we can't help but care about them, even as we wait for disaster to strike them down. --Anita Urquhart


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  • Taking happiness where you find it.......
    From Amazon

    One never expects much happiness in an Oates' story. This one begins with a "happy" family, drops into a deep chasm, and for those who survive, ends in an epilogue that is over-the-top happy. A celebration on the Fourth of July has all the giddiness that comes with too much sugar, excitement, and fireworks. Still, it's a troubling book. I can't forgive the Mulvaney parents (I'm a parent and a grandparent) for, instead of supporting Marianne, their raped daughter, sending her away, and having little to do with her for years. The scene at her father's bedside when he is dying and wants to see Marianne, so she drives madly there to see him, seems a bit contrived. She's still saying, "I'm sorry." For what? Has she never learned that she isn't to blame for anything that happened and that her parents basically abandoned her at her time of greatest need? Decisions have their consequences. The father of the clan loses his business, his home, and finally his life while the rest of the family eventually nurse themselves into reasonably healthy, well-adjusted people. It's a good story, worth reading.RVing Solo Across America . . . without a cat, dog, man, or gun> /[[ASIN:1587219298 Where Lilacs Bloom

  • First book I've read of Oates and now my last.
    From Amazon

    I could just repeat some of the other one star reviews. This was the first book I've read by Joyce Carol Oates and I probably would not have read it if it had not been recommended by a "friend". I don't think I would ever be motivated to read another of her books. It was one of the most tedious books I have ever read, the characters were shallow, there was practically no wisdom or perception in the whole book and I have to say I found myself aghast that the father would reject his daughter, supposedly the apple of his eye, because she had been raped. He obviously only "loved" her as an extension of his own ego. After reading mostly 4 and 5 star books by Pulitzer prize winning (and even noble prize winning) authors, I found the style incredibly boring. I like to spend my time being productive and found myself so frustrated that this was a total waste of time for me.

  • Worst. Book. Ever.
    From Amazon

    This book was recommended to me via an Oprah's Bookclub Reader. It was horrible. I mean, painful, to read. Long, drawn out, overdescriptive, boring... This 500 page book could have been EASILY condensed into 200-300 pages. I wonder if she had a page number quota to fill. I was complaing about it and my mom insisted the book couldn't be as bad as I said. She took the book from me and read some of it for herself and after falling asleep, she woke up saying the same thing as me- Oh my gosh, this book is awful! I kept hoping the book would get better as I went on. The first somewhat interesting thing that occurred was over halfway through the book! Seriously, after 300 pages??? Come on. Reading is supposed to be fun. Not torturous. Unless you need help falling asleep or you want to punish someone with a bad gift, do not read or buy this book.

  • A good read.
    From Amazon

    I've noticed this book has really mixed reviews, with people either loving it or hating it. While it's by no means Oates best book, I think it's an excellent read. Oates writes in careful, controlled prose, and is able to bring living, breathing characters to the page, better than most authors out there. While the novel can be slow at times, it's worth keeping up with. Oates, like Ian McEwan, is great at putting ordinary people into horrible situations and seeing how it plays out. We Were the Mulvaneys is a long, sad book, full of humor and heartbreak, and it's definitely worth a read. If you ask me, this isn't a novel to be taken quickly. I think you'd enjoy it more reading a little bit at a time, maybe even between other books, than reading the whole things in a few days. But if you like Oates, and are able to get involved with the characters, We Were the Mulvaneys is a powerful, haunting read.

  • disappointing
    From Amazon

    Although the author is well read and this was an Oprah pick for her book club, I found the book disappointing. It's tedious to read, and many "facts" are wrong. The characters were very weak - I could not feel sorry for them. The mother and father were very ineffective as parents and in their own little world, especially the mother. The father banished the daughter after the rape as if it was her fault. The daughter as the victim was also in her own little world and not someone you'd expect to act like she did when sexually assaulted.I found the the book left a lot of unanswered questions. Fans of Joyce Carol Oates may like the book although I doubt it, but I could not recommend it for the general reader.

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