American Appetites

Overview

Acclaimed and prolific author Joyce Carol Oates spins a chilling tale in which the American dream becomes a nightmare. "Any definition of art that excludes this novel is probably too narrow by far."--Time

Joyce Carol Oates spins a chilling tale in which the American dream becomes a nightmare.

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Overview

Acclaimed and prolific author Joyce Carol Oates spins a chilling tale in which the American dream becomes a nightmare. "Any definition of art that excludes this novel is probably too narrow by far."--Time

Joyce Carol Oates spins a chilling tale in which the American dream becomes a nightmare.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In her 19th novel, the prolific author of You Must Remember This dishes up a heady concoction of lust, murder and courtroom drama. Ian and Glynnis McCullough, an apparently happy couple for 26 years, orbit painlessly in the academic universe of the prestigious Institute for Independent Research in the Social Sciences in upstate New York. Glynnis is a noted food writer working on a cookbook titled American Appetites , while Ian is a demographic expert whose destiny, ``the seemingly benign verso of fate,'' will by the tale's end seem astonishingly altered from its original course. When a drunken quarrel over suspected infidelity degenerates into a brawl, Glynnis falls through a plate glass window and is fatally injured. Ian is charged wtih murder; during his ensuing trial ambiguities abound as guilt and responsibility must be treated as separate issues. In her usual nuanced, stylized voice, Oates offers incriminating evidence against American appetites for food, wine, drink, power and sex, as she knowingly observes the smugly comfortable lives of the smart and tenured. A zippy story about successful lives dramatically altered by one sudden and inexplicable lapse of judgment, this is definitely Oates in her bestseller metier. Jan.
Library Journal
Quite a departure for Oates, this thriller is set in an affluent neighborhood on the Hudson. Ian McCullough is a researcher at a social science think tank, long married to the elegant Glynnis, who entertains beautifully and writes trendy cookbooks. Glynnis also dabbles in people, taking up with struggling artists and the like for short spells. Such a case is Sigrid Hunt, a dancer whose troubled life leads her to seek help from Ian when Glynnis is no longer interested. Glynnis eventually comes to suspect something's up between Ian and Sigrid it isn't, and in a drunken argument Ian shoves his wife through their plate glass wallor did she fall? An absorbing, well-told story full of suspense. Ann H. Fisher, Radford P.L., Va.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060972783
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/28/1990
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.38 (w) x 7.99 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Medal of Humanities, the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Book Award, and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction, and has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including We Were the Mulvaneys; Blonde, which was nominated for the National Book Award; and the New York Times bestseller The Accursed. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978.

Biography

Joyce Carol Oates is one of the most influential and important storytellers in the literary world. She has often used her supreme narrative skills to examine the dark side of middle-class Americana, and her oeuvre includes some of the finest examples of modern essays, plays, criticism, and fiction from a vast array of genres. She is still publishing with a speed and consistency of quality nearly unheard of in contemporary literature.

A born storyteller, Oates has been spinning yarns since she was a little girl too young to even write. Instead, she would communicate her stories through drawings and paintings. When she received her very first typewriter at the age of 14, her creative floodgates opened with a torrent. She says she wrote "novel after novel" throughout high school and college -- a prolificacy that has continued unabated throughout a professional career that began in 1963 with her first short story collection, By the North Gate.

Oates's breakthrough occurred in 1969 with the publication of them, a National Book Award winner that established her as a force to be reckoned with. Since that auspicious beginning, she has been nominated for nearly every major literary honor -- from the PEN/Faulkner Award to the Pulitzer Prize -- and her fiction turns up with regularity on The New York Times annual list of Notable Books.

On average Oates publishes at least one novel, essay anthology, or story collection a year (during the 1970s, she produced at the astonishing rate of two or three books a year!). And although her fiction often exposes the darker side of America's brightest facades – familial unrest, sexual violence, the death of innocence – she has also made successful forays into Gothic novels, suspense, fantasy, and children's literature. As novelist John Barth once remarked, "Joyce Carol Oates writes all over the aesthetical map."

Where she finds the time for it no one knows, but Oates manages to combine her ambitious, prolific writing career with teaching: first at the University of Windsor in Canada, then (from 1978 on), at Princeton University in New Jersey. For all her success and fame, her daily routine of teaching and writing has changed very little, and her commitment to literature as a transcendent human activity remains steadfast.

Good To Know

When not writing, Oates likes to take in a fight. "Boxing is a celebration of the lost religion of masculinity all the more trenchant for its being lost," she says in highbrow fashion of the lowbrow sport.

Oates's Black Water, which is a thinly veiled account of Ted Kennedy's car crash in Chappaquiddick, was produced as an opera in the 1990s.

In 2001, Oprah Winfrey selected Oates's novel We Were the Mulvaneys for her Book Club.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Rosamond Smith
    2. Hometown:
      Princeton, New Jersey
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 16, 1938
    2. Place of Birth:
      Lockport, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., Syracuse University, 1960; M.A., University of Wisconsin, 1961

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