Man Crazy: A Novel
Fresh from the triumph of We Were the Mulvaneys, Joyce Carol Oates continues her exploration of family love and possibilities of human redemption with this compelling story of how one young woman suffers profoundly in the pursuit of love, but manages to emerge safe and whole. Set in several towns on the Chatauqua River in upstate New York, Man Crazy tells the story of Ingrid Boone, who at age eight is taken into hiding by her beautiful young mother, Chloe. Sought by the men who have taunted Chloe, the authorities, and Ingrid's loving but volatile father still haunted by memories of Vietnam, Ingrid and her mother fight to survive both together and apart. "Man crazy" is the label assigned to teenage Ingrid, whose desperate need to find a substitute for her father's affection makes her easy prey for the charismatic leader of a violent cult. Eventually, the police surround the cult compound and a tense standoff erupts in bullets and flames. Ingrid escapes to rebuild her life, and Oates' depiction of this severely damaged young woman's slow but miraculous process of healing stands as one of the most brilliant portraits she has ever created. Oates' gift for haunting imagery reaches new heights in this emotionally resonant work.
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