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09 November 2003 @ 10:37 pm
Rifts within the Fabric - Joyce Carol Oates' We Were the Mulvaneys  
If trying out a new author is in any way comparable to exploring a strange and unfamiliar town without any map or tour guide, I can assure you this quick book report comes from a most disoriented traveller.

Maybe it is simply the fact that I started reading the first chapters at 03:45 a.m. this mornig, maybe it is Joyce Carol Oates' writing, but I'm getting mixed vibes from We Were the Mulvaneys, mixed vibes that seem to intensify the closer I look.

While most online reviews and also and the good-natured, meandering, nostalgia-loaden style imply that Oates is playing this one honest and straight (tragic tale of an ideal American family torn apart by hushed-up event), already the self-introduction of the Mulvaneys' youngest son Judd can be interpreted as first warning signal. Nothing creates as much as distrust in a reader's heart as a narrator who claims attempting to be truthful.

Also, Judd's actual description of the Mulvaneys' happy and much envied life on "picture-perfect High Point Farm" contains enough evidence to believe that the atmosphere of alledged warmth and cosiness is merely a facade. Even before Marianne Mulvaney's fall the actual rifts running through the fabrics of this family appear deeper than the Grand Canyon.

Failed communication, repression, hypocritical morals, ignorance, neuroses, misguided competition, cruelty, ruthless patriachal structures. Whatever characteristic of dysfunctionality, name it, it's there...
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Current Mood: confusedpuzzled
Current Music: Sarah Mclachlan, Ice
 
 
 
Cavendishcavendish on November 10th, 2003 12:28 am (UTC)
Oats
Hi there!

This comes directly onto my "must borrow" list.

If trying out a new author is in any way comparable to exploring a strange and unfamiliar town without any map or tour guide, I can assure you this quick book report comes from a most disoriented traveller.

Apart from the fact that you are never really disorientated when it comes to literature, I do like your lj style ;-)

F.