Bellefleur

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Overview

A wealthy and notorious clan, the Bellefleurs live in a region not unlike the Adirondacks, in an enormous mansion on the shores of mythical Lake Noir. Written with a voluptuousness and immediacy unusual even for Oates, Bellefleur was hailed upon publication as the culmination of her work.
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Bellefleur

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Overview

A wealthy and notorious clan, the Bellefleurs live in a region not unlike the Adirondacks, in an enormous mansion on the shores of mythical Lake Noir. Written with a voluptuousness and immediacy unusual even for Oates, Bellefleur was hailed upon publication as the culmination of her work.
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Editorial Reviews

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

  • ISBN-13: 9780452267947
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/1/1991
  • Pages: 592
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 8.92 (h) x 1.24 (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 Chicago Tribune 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 the national bestsellers 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

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

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(1)

4 Star

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2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2000

    The great American novel

    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.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2014

    Sharing is caring...come on!!!

    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???

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2003

    THE ONE WORD?

    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!!!!

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2014

    The usual family saga

    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

    1 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2014

    Tedious

    Laborious effort toward an unsatisfying end

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2014

    The word?..

    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.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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