Dear Husband: Book summary and reviews of Dear Husband by Joyce Carol Oates

Dear Husband

by Joyce Carol Oates

Dear Husband by Joyce Carol Oates
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2009
    336 pages
    Genre: Short Stories & Essays

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Book Summary

A gripping and moving new collection of stories by Joyce Carol Oates, which reimagines the meaning of family—by unexpected, often startling means

With the unflinching candor and sym­pathy for which Joyce Carol Oates is celebrated, these fourteen stories examine the intimate lives of contemporary American families: the tangled ties between generations, the desperation—and the covert, radiant happiness—of loving more than one is loved in return. In "Cutty Sark" and "Landfill," the bond between adolescent son and mother reverberates with the force of an unspoken passion, bringing unexpected consequences for the son. In "A Princeton Idyll," a woman is forced to realize, decades later, her childhood role in the destruction of a famous, beloved grandfather's life. In "Magda Maria," a man tries to break free of the enthralling and dangerous erotic obsession of his life. In the gripping title story, Oates boldly reimagines the true-crime story of Andrea Yates, the Texas mother who drowned her children in 2001. Several stories—"Suicide by Fitness Center," "The Glazers," and "Dear Joyce Carol,"—take a less tragic turn, exploring with mordant humor the shadowy interstices between self-awareness and delusion.

Dramatic, intensely rendered, and always provocative, Dear Husband, provides an unsettling and fascinating look into the mysterious heart of America.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Throughout the collection, Oates seamlessly enters the minds of disparate characters to find both the exalted and depraved aspects of real American families." - Publishers Weekly.

"Oates, author of more than 30 previous story collections, presents another good choice for libraries." - Library Journal.

"The onrushing prose and stabbing emotional intensity that are Oates' greatest strengths imbue the volume with compulsive readability. One of this indefatigable author's best books in some time." - Kirkus Reviews.

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Author Information

Joyce Carol Oates Author Biography

Photo by Marion Ettlinger

Joyce Carol Oates was born in Lockport, New York, in 1938 and grew up on the family farm where she developed a love of literature and writing. She earned a scholarship to Syracuse University and graduated valedictorian. She then took a masters degree, after which she started teaching at the University of Detroit where she met her first husband Raymond J Smith. In the late '60s, they moved to the University of Windsor in Canada, where they were co-editors of the literary quaterly publication The Ontario Review. In the late 1970s she took a teaching position at Princeton University where she is currently the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities.

She published her first book in 1963, and has published over 40 ...

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