This was love at first sight!
Page 3 of 4 Book Reviews We Were the Mulvaneys works not simply because of its meticulous details and gestures What keeps us coming back to Oates Country is something stronger and spookier: Over the course of plus pages, we watch, in a kind of slow-motion horror, as life at the Mulvaneys' High Point Farm in upstate New York is wrenched apart by an act of careless brutality inflicted by an outsider upon the family's only daughter.
Shocked and embarrassed by Marianne's "trouble" and unwilling to punish the young man who brutalized herthe community of Mt. Ephraim turns upon the Mulvaneys, and they turn upon each other. Marianne's mere presence becomes intolerable to her increasingly erratic father, who is filled with rage at his daughter's defilement and at the town's betrayal of his trust.
She is banished from the house; her two older brothers send themselves into exile. With its atmosphere of secrecy and doom, it might appear merely another example of Oates' gothic imagination run amok: The Fall of the House of Mulvaney. But this book is much more than that.
Detailing the small rituals of intimacy that define a close-knit family, Oates pulls us gently into the comfortable Mulvaney world. When this world begins to break apart, we fully grasp the extent of the tragedy—and the unsettling fragility of a life that seems at first as solidly anchored as the Mulvaneys' old farm house.
This is a novel that comes close, very close, to being as rich and as maddeningly jumbled as life itself. David Futrelle - Salon Elegiac and urgent in tone, Oates's wrenching 26th novel after Zombie is a profound and darkly realistic chronicle of one family's hubristic heyday and its fall from grace.
The wealthy, socially elite Mulvaneys live on historic High Point Farm, near the small upstate town of Mt. Before the act of violence that forever destroys it, an idyllic incandescence bathes life on the farm.
Hard-working and proud, Michael Mulvaney owns a successful roofing company. His wife, Corinne, who makes a halfhearted attempt at running an antique business, adores her husband and four children, feeling "privileged by God.
Though the incident is hushed up, everyone in the family becomes a casualty. Guilty and shamed by his reaction to his daughter's defilement, Mike Sr. The family begins to disintegrate. Mike loses his business and, later, the homestead.
The boys and Corinne register their frustration and sadness in different, destructive ways. Valiant, tainted Marianne runs from love and commitment. More than a decade later, there is a surprising denouement, in which Oates accommodates a guardedly optimistic vision of the future.
Each family member is complexly rendered and seen against the background of social and cultural conditioning. As with much of Oates's work, the prose is sometimes prolix, but the very rush of narrative, in which flashbacks capture the same urgency of tone as the present, gives this moving tale its emotional power.
Publishers Weekly Everyone knows the Mulvaneys: Dad the successful businessman, Mike the football star, Marianne the cheerleader, Patrick the brain, Judd the runt, and Mom dedicated to running the family.
But after what sometime narrator Judd calls the events of Valentine's Daythis ideal family falls apart and is not reunited until Oates's 26th novel explores this disintegration with an eye to the nature of changing relationships and recovering from the fractures that occur.The Mulvaneys get under our skin and demand that we pay attention.
New York News Day. In her gracefully sprawling new novel, Joyce Carol Oates delivers a modern family tragedy with a theme as painfully primal as Oedipus Rex.
The Mulvaneys are blessed by all that makes life sweeta hardworking father, a loving mother, three fine sons, and a bright, pretty daughter. They are confident in their love for each other and their position in the rural community of Mt.
Ephraim, New York. We Were the Mulvaneys - Kindle edition by Joyce Carol Oates. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading We Were the Mulvaneys.
We Were the Mulvaneys (Oprah's Book Club) Paperback – January 24, by Joyce Carol Oates (Author)/5(). Study Guide for We Were the Mulvaneys. We Were the Mulvaneys study guide contains a biography of Joyce Carol Oates, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and .
By Joyce Carol Oates (Dutton: $, pp.) September 15, | Beverly Lowry | Beverly Lowry is author of the nonfiction book, "Crossed Over, a Murder, a Memoir." Her most recent novel is "The Track of Real Desires" (Knopf).