[Epub] ↠ Middle Age: A Romance Author Joyce Carol Oates – Reliableradio.co.uk

Middle Age: A Romance I think I need to take a break from reading JCO I love her books, but the last two I ve read were definitely not my favorites.The beginning of this book leads you to believe that it s going to be a mystery, of sorts We were at least going to find out why the person who died, Adam, was not exactly who he said he was Ok, so maybe we did find that out eventually, but I was surprised that that ended up being a very small part of the story Instead, it goes on and on and on into the self centered ridiculous lives of the other residents of the town who were so devastated by Adam s death But they seemed way devastated than they should have been, like it was really all an act And Marina, who, at the beginning, was the person most important to Adam, turns out to be the person who best pulls herself together and moves on This is the second book I ve read by Joyce Carol Oates and I think despite the fact that she is Alison s favorite author it will be the last I find all her characters to be too whiny and unsympathetic I think This book had a lot of characters and I struggled to like a single one of them Plus I wonder, at least based on this book, about Oates s view of women All of them were middle aged unself fulfilled women chasing after men who didn t care about them or allowing themselves to be taken advantage of by men who disgusted them I don t get behind the whole you disgust me I want nothing to do with you until you force yourself on me and then I ll melt into your arms deal Not realistic and totally propagating date rape in my opinion Not that any raping occurs in this book, I just think stuff like that gives people the idea that no doesn t mean no At any rate the book centers around a guy named Adam who moves at some point in his adulthood to this small upper class town in New York It is evident from the first few pages of the book that he has a secret past He also dies in the first chapter or so and you figure the story is going to be about the discovery of his past after his death Not so much The story revolves around all these people in the tow Adam Berendt dominates this story from Page 1, even though he is involved in a fatal accident An enigmatic man, who avoided any questions about his past or his personal life, he was a sculptor and philosopher, physically unappealing but every man s friend and the lover every woman coveted The impact of this character on everyone else in the book is explored in Joyce Carol Oates signature way courageously, with unstinting honesty, and in many instances, uncomfortably real Even when I was cringing at some of the characters words and actions, I was swept up in the authenticity of their experience I would recommend this book to all readers who enjoy deep, meaningful character studies and how people s lives are unerringly governed by both their suc On these pages, someone mentioned Anne Tyler and Joyce Carol Oates in the same breath I m a big fan of Ms Tyler and I ve read all her books, some than once But I d never read than a short story from Ms Oates So with this reading I repaired that error.Comparisons are irresistible Unlike Ms Tyler, Ms Oates does not love her characters unconditionally The narrator s attitude seems to be one of newspaper journalist cynic All of her characters are fools Rich, spoiled fools Which tempts another comparison to another journalist cynic Tom Wolfe.Is this a New York thing Or maybe it s a middle aged thing.Because as the characters in Middle Age begin to emerge from it perhaps it s a temporary condition crazed as adolescence they become decent, tender, and loving, almost unbelievably so.I ll res The first time I read this book, I was in my early thirties, and I probably would ve scored it lower then if I d had a Goodreads account Now as a middle aged woman, this book speaks powerfully to me, which I think is kind of the point The blurb for this book makes it all about Adam Berendt, but the book really isn t about Adam Adam is merely the event, the shock to the characters comfortable and settled lives that is the impetus for the changes they go through And every character is confronted by change, meeting it differentlywhich is what middle age is really about In the prime of their lives, they d been successful and then, perhaps abruptly, unexpectedly something had happened illness, accident, financial losses, disappointing children, divorce, death to break them and make them doubt everything they d believed in Yet somehow they d mended, and made a decision to live, and to live happily, as long as possible Adam is the personification of this unexpected something, but each character confronts at least one of the items Oates lists Some come out of this confrontation stronger, wise, accepting, in touchwhile others fail to make the transition at all Salthill on the Hudson, the community of the book, is merely a microcosm of the middle aged world people who all have to confront their If you like Desperate Housewives you will probably like this book.Adam has just died in a heroic boating accident, leaving behind a tight knit community of well to do NYC suburbanites who are as confused about his death as they are about how they should continue on with their own lives One woman decides to run away to the Pennsylvania mountains for a year Another just runs away Various men become involved with far younger women, and one of these men s abandoned wives turns their million dollar estate into an informal kennel for unwanted dogs What do these characters have in common You guessed it middle age.I have read several of Joyce Carol Oates s short stories, and I ve read that she s among the United States finest writers, that she and Philip Roth are our best hope for another Nobel Prize within the next decade, and I can appreciate the irony and styled prose with which she weaves this novel s interconnected stories However This is one repetitive five hundred page book A friend of mine says that s Oates s style , to revisit and revisit certain topics The book is called Middle Age, and there s no way you ll forget that its characters, who are described as old middle age and youthful middle age and so on, are all middle aged Even th This lengthy, literary soap opera follows an ensemble of affluent characters whose lives are deeply effected when Adam Berendt, a mysterious sculptor they are all acquainted with, suddenly dies Mid life crises unspool, opening a depressing window on what lies ahead for those who have yet to acknowledge they re old Most of the wealthy Salthill characters are so self centered, it s hard to care about them Sure, they all have their romances, but they re passion In Salthill On Hudson, A Half Hour Train Ride From Manhattan, Everyone Is Rich, Beautiful, And Though They Look Much Younger Middle Aged But When Adam Berendt, A Charismatic, Mysterious Sculptor, Dies Suddenly In A Brash Act Of Heroism, Shock Waves Rock The Town But Who Was Adam Berendt Was He In Fact A Hero, Or Someone Flawed And Human I am tormented on whether I like this author or I don t Her book We are the Mulvaneys was an Oprah preferred book I didn t read that book and am deciding whether I want to or not, I found the story going in a Nowhere near her masterpiece level Blonde, The Falls , but pretty good, and I give her major props for the meaty section about the racist prison injustice system and the death penalty, and the privileged fancy lawyer learning a little something about the real world from his work on a death row case Much class consciousness and social commentary throughout, as always, which makes reading about a bunch of highly overprivileged people palatable Unusually, there s a confluence of happy endings except for one jackass who gets his comeuppance which was sort of delicious.One complaint Most revered JCO, please stop misusing the word bemused, or at least if you re going to misuse i


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