We Were the Mulvaneys

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Penguin, Jan 24, 2001 - Fiction - 464 pages
35 Reviews
An Oprah Book Club® selection

A New York Times Notable Book

"It's the novel closest to my heart…. I'm deeply moved that Oprah Winfrey has selected this novel for Oprah's Book Club, a family novel presented to Oprah's vast American family."—Joyce Carol Oates

Moving away from the dark tone of her more recent masterpieces, Joyce Carol Oates turns the tale of a family struggling to cope with its fall from grace into a deeply moving and unforgettable account of the vigor of hope and the power of love to prevail over suffering.The Mulvaneys of High Point Farm in Mt. Ephraim, New York, are a large and fortunate clan, blessed with good looks, abundant charisma, and boundless promise. But over the twenty-five year span of this ambitious novel, the Mulvaneys will slide, almost imperceptibly at first, from the pinnacle of happiness, transformed by the vagaries of fate into a scattered collection of lost and lonely souls.It is the youngest son, Judd, now an adult, who attempts to piece together the fragments of the Mulvaneys' former glory, seeking to uncover and understand the secret violation that occasioned the family's tragic downfall. Each of the Mulvaneys endures some form of exile- physical or spiritual - but in the end they find a way to bridge the chasms that have opened up among them, reuniting in the spirit of love and healing.Profoundly cathartic, Oates' acclaimed novel unfolds as if, in the darkness of the human spirit, she has come upon a source of light at its core. Rarely has a writer made such a startling and inspiring statement about the value of hope and compassion.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - strandbooks - LibraryThing

Now that I've read 3 books by Joyce Carol Oates I think I can describe them as emotionally-draining. Halfway through this book I thought "wow. these people are so miserable. I wonder why this wasn't ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - LynleyS - LibraryThing

The Mulvaneys are painted in such vivid detail that it's hard to believe this isn't autobiography. The details of happy, and then not so happy, family life are so well-drawn that descriptions ... Read full review


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About the author (2001)

In addition to many prize-winning and bestselling novels, including We Were the Mulvaneys, Black Water, Because It Is Bitter and Because It Is My Heart, and Broke Heart Blues, Joyce Carol Oates is the author of a number of works of gothic fiction including Haunted: Tales of the Grotesque, a World Fantasy Award nominee; and Zombie, winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Best Horror Novel, awarded by the Horror Writers' Association. In 1994, Oates received the Bram Stoker Lifetime Achievement Award in Horror Fiction. She is the editor of American Gothic Tales. She lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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