I’ve written about Joyce Carol Oates before on this blog, but here is an interesting profile of her from Entertainment Weekly. She has a new book out (of course) – The Gravedigger’s Daughter, and EW took the occasion of this most recent novel to check in with her. She is so prolific that it’s easy to take her for granted – this article is a good reminder of her talent.
Perhaps more useful than the article, however, is EW’s list of the five best Joyce Carol Oates books. I’ve read one of them – Black Water – and I was happy to see it make the list. (It’s a fictionalized account of the Chappaquiddick accident from the point of view of the drowned girl.)
Here is the list:
THE FALLS (2004): This page-turner begins with an unforgettably horrific wedding night, then evolves into a poignant family saga that takes place around Oates’ native Niagara Falls.
I’LL TAKE YOU THERE (2002): The account of a neurotic college girl and her misadventures in a sorority is one of Oates’ most autobiographical novels.
BLONDE (2000): The history and psyche of Marilyn Monroe are reimagined in 700 riveting pages.
BLACK WATER (1992): This novella, about a charming politician, a vulnerable young woman, and a car accident, offers a brilliant parallel to Chappaquiddick.
WONDERLAND (1971): Oates’ brooding early novel tells the absolutely harrowing story of brain surgeon Jesse Vogel and his struggles to live a rational life in a berserk world.
Does anyone out there disagree with this list?