Bellefleur

Bellefleur

3.1 14
by Joyce Carol Oates
     
 

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A wealthy and notorious clan, the Bellefleurs live in a region not unlike the Adirondacks, in an enormous mansion on the shores of mythic Lake Noir. They own vast lands and profitable businesses, they employ their neighbors, and they influence the government. A prolific and eccentric group, they include several millionaires, a mass murderer, a spiritual seeker who

Overview

A wealthy and notorious clan, the Bellefleurs live in a region not unlike the Adirondacks, in an enormous mansion on the shores of mythic Lake Noir. They own vast lands and profitable businesses, they employ their neighbors, and they influence the government. A prolific and eccentric group, they include several millionaires, a mass murderer, a spiritual seeker who climbs into the mountains looking for God, a wealthy noctambulist who dies of a chicken scratch.

Bellefleur traces the lives of several generations of this unusual family. At its center is Gideon Bellefleur and his imperious, somewhat psychic, very beautiful wife, Leah, their three children (one with frightening psychic abilities), and the servants and relatives, living and dead, who inhabit the mansion and its environs. Their story offers a profound look at the world's changeableness, time and eternity, space and soul, pride and physicality versus love. Bellefleur is an allegory of caritas versus cupiditas, love and selflessness versus pride and selfishness. It is a novel of change, baffling complexity, mystery.

Written with a voluptuousness and startling immediacy that transcends Joyce Carol Oates's early works, Bellefleur is widely regarded as a masterwork—a feat of literary genius that forces us "to ask again how anyone can possibly write such books, such absolutely convincing scenes, rousing in us, again and again, the familiar Oates effect, the point of all her art: joyful terror gradually ebbing toward wonder" (John Gardner).

Editorial Reviews

John Gardner
"An awesome construction...a work of a genius." -- New York Times Book Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062269164
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
06/25/2013
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
752
Sales rank:
740,043
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.40(d)

Meet the Author

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. 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.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Princeton, New Jersey
Date of Birth:
June 16, 1938
Place of Birth:
Lockport, New York
Education:
B.A., Syracuse University, 1960; M.A., University of Wisconsin, 1961

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Bellefleur 3.1 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 14 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the 'great American novel' that tells the history of the American experience in one family. This is by far Oates' greatest work, a real masterpiece. However, the meaning of the novel depends on your understanding one character, Brown Lucy. Miss the 'word,' mentioned only once, and the novel becomes just a beautiful soap opera. Find the word, and you discover the depth of the novel. Very few people have ever spotted this word, and that is why this novel has been overlooked for so long. Read slowly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
To claim the true meaning of this novel hinges on one word , as one anonymous reviewer claims, is absurd in the extreme. The novel being (allegedly) overlooked because few people have ever spotted this word (presumably with the exception of the omniscient reviewer) is equally absurd. Read the work for what it is, an engrossing gothic novel of magic realism, and forget about looking for an apocryphal word.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Laborious effort toward an unsatisfying end
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read to page 14 - skipped to 50, 100, 200 and archived
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Little dated for those wanted grafic violence language sex
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don't be an elitist book snob and drive everyone crazy...what the heck is "the word"?!? How does the entire 700+ page book depend on ONE word that most people miss? Do YOU really know what the word is and why would not share it???
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am finding this rather tedious...with the extremely long sentences made longer by the extremely long interjectons in parentheses is making this a difficult. Maybe if I knew "the word" I would have something to look forward to in thersce 700 plus pages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Brown Lucy's last name is Varrell.  Thus, the patriarch of the Bellefleur clan is also the patriarch of the Varrell clan, and the warring families are directly related, although they don't know it.  
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have just bought this book in hardback from a library sale and have not read it yet. However, in reading the post from a reviewer, he mentions one word that is used only once and it is the key to the whole novel. Gee, now I'll be reading this book trying to spot the one word!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A nice long read for lazy summers if you have a broken ankle and cant do anything but sweat or chill inside watching the law and order re runs notice the review dates and its probably been culled from the library and out of print the magic word is tedious unless you are into this genre frankly the genre is now fixed on the kennedy and downtown abbey and the tv series win over the novels