Tag Archives: Joyce Carol Oates


In an author’s note at the opening of Joyce Carol Oates’s fourth novel, them, she claims, with an apparent sincerity that many readers took as the truth, that her story was based on the confessions of a former night student of hers named Maureen Wendall. Nevertheless, it’s a surprising moment when, in the middle of her otherwise straightforward narrative, Maureen, the main character of the book, speaks directly to the author. “Dear Miss Oates. The books you taught me are mainly lies I can tell you,” Maureen writes. And it feels like a cry not just against the poverty and violence of her life, but against the story her author is trying to make that life fit into.
Tom Nissley, A Reader’s Book of Days: True Tales from the Lives and Works of Writers ..

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writing about the past

One ”sees” through memory as through a tremulous prism: The past is recaptured by way of disparate images, fragmented sensory vignettes, snatches of conversation. Chronological fidelity is desired less than impressionistic immediacy. For of what value is the past if, being recounted, it lies dead and mute on the page?

Joyce Carol Oates reviews Unframed Originals by W.S. Merwin  (from here) 

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Filed under memories, story