Marya: a life

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Dutton, 1986 - Fiction - 310 pages
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Limns an emotionally incisive, hauntingly resonant portrait of a modern woman in search of self-understanding and fulfillment

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User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Oates' "most personal" novel, as her publisher calls it, is also her smallest in scale. When we meet Marya Knauer, the novel's lean and secretive young heroine, she is an 8-year-old abandoned child in ... Read full review

Marya: a life

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Unlike Oates's recent gothic and Victorian excesses, Marya is a fairly straightforward narrative closer in style to some of the earlier novels, such as Them and A Garden of Earthly Delights , that ... Read full review


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About the author (1986)

Joyce Carol Oates was born in 1938 in Upstate, New York. She attended Syracuse University and graduated as Valedictorian. She then attended University of Wisconsin where she earned an M. A. By the time she was 47 years old, she had published at least that many separate books, including 16 full-length novels and more than a dozen collections of short stories. Some of her works were done under the pseudonym Rosamund Smith. She has also written numerous poems collected in several volumes, at least three plays, many critical essays, and articles and reviews on various subjects while fulfilling her obligations as a professor of English at the University of Windsor, where with her husband Raymond Smith she edited the Ontario Review, which the couple has continued since moving to Princeton in 1978. She has earned a reputation as indubitably one of our most prolific writers and very likely one of our best. Her fiction alone demonstrates considerable variety, ranging from direct naturalism to complex experiments in form. However, what chiefly makes her work her own is a quality of psychological realism, an uncanny ability to bring to the surface an underlying sense of foreboding or a threat of violence that seems to lurk just around the corner from the everyday domestic lives she depicts so realistically. Her first six novels, including Them (1969), which won the National Book Award, express these qualities in varying ways. she is also the recipient of an NEA grant, a Guggenheim fellowship, the PEN/Malamud Lifetime Achievement Award, and the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Lifetime Achievement in American Literature. She resides in New Jersey.