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Joyce Carol Oates biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Joyce Carol Oates
Photo by Marion Ettlinger

Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates Biography

Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Medal of Humanities, the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Book Award, and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction, and has been several times nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including the national bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys, Blonde, which was nominated for the National Book Award, and the New York Times bestseller The Falls, which won the 2005 Prix Femina. Her most recent novel is A Book of American Martyrs. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978.



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Interview

Joyce Carol Oates answers questions about her novel, The Falls, set in Niagara Falls during the second half of the 20th century, and the infamous Love Canal lawsuit that is at the heart of the book.

Niagara Falls truly comes alive in the story; you describe its power and beauty in exquisite detail and during different seasons. How did your connection with Niagara Falls contribute to writing the book?
I grew up in the countryside not far from Niagara Falls and we often visited there. Even in western New York State, a region that is haunting to me, Niagara Falls was always special.

For those who have never been to Niagara Falls, would you recommend it? What would you say to encourage people to visit?
This is a difficult question. Of course, the Falls are spectacular. But more spectacular on the Canadian side of the border. The Canadian Niagara Falls is Disneyland-commercial; the American side is somewhat shabby and economically depressed. Only visit in reasonably warm weather.

The reader knows things about Gilbert that Ariah does not, including a first-hand account of what drove him to commit suicide. How does having this information enhance the reading of the story?
Many suicides, especially in the past, have surely been as a consequence of sexual anxiety. The reader understands Gilbert's "secret" to a degree Gilbert doesn't understand himself, while Ariah can only feel guilt, shame, and humiliation ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Joyce Carol Oates at BookBrowse
Cutting Edge jacket Pursuit jacket My Life as a Rat jacket Hazards of Time Travel jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Joyce Carol Oates but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Deni Y. Béchard

    Deni Y. Béchard

    Deni Béchard was born in British Columbia to a loving and health-conscious American mother and a French Canadian father with penchant for crime and storytelling. He grew up in the wake of their turbulent lives throughout... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Falls

    Try:
    Vandal Love
    by Deni Y. Béchard

  • Ian Caldwell

    Ian Caldwell

    Ian Caldwell attended Princeton University, where he studied history. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1998. He began writing The Rule of Four with his best friend, Dustin Thomason, after graduation. His second book, The Fifth ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Jack of Spades

    Try:
    The Rule of Four
    by Ian Caldwell

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Editor's Choice

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    The year is 1726 and the sleepy town of Godalming has been rocked by scandal. Called to the bedside ...

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Lost Man
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"Strong characters, riveting plot and an honest look at life in the Australian outback make it easy to give this 5-stars!"
—BookBrowse

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