Carthage

Carthage

3.6 14
by Joyce Carol Oates
     
 

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Zeno Mayfield's daughter has disappeared into the night, gone missing in the wilds of the Adirondacks. But when the community of Carthage joins his frantic search for the girl, they discover the unlikeliest of suspects—a decorated Iraq War veteran with close ties to the Mayfield family. As grisly evidence mounts against the troubled war hero, the family must

Overview

Zeno Mayfield's daughter has disappeared into the night, gone missing in the wilds of the Adirondacks. But when the community of Carthage joins his frantic search for the girl, they discover the unlikeliest of suspects—a decorated Iraq War veteran with close ties to the Mayfield family. As grisly evidence mounts against the troubled war hero, the family must wrestle with the possibility of having lost a daughter forever.

Carthage plunges us deep into the psyche of a wounded young corporal haunted by unspeakable acts of wartime aggression, while unraveling the story of a girl whose exile from her family may have come long before her disappearance.

Dark and riveting, Carthage is a powerful novel that explores the human capacity for violence, love, and forgiveness, and asks if it's ever truly possible to come home again.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Liesl Schillinger
At the Brooklyn Museum, an exhibit called War/Photography: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath…featured a photograph by Nina Berman of a young Marine sergeant, Ty Ziegel, who was horrifically injured and disfigured by a suicide bomb in Iraq in 2004. Returning home, he underwent scores of surgeries and in 2006 married his sweetheart in Illinois. The marriage didn't last, and Ziegel died in December 2012. But nobody who saw the "Marine Wedding" series will be able to forget him—or the damage wrought by war on his body, his life and his family. Joyce Carol Oates's new novel puts the homecoming of a similarly wounded warrior at its center, doing with words what the Berman portraits did with images…again and again, Oates shows how perilous it is to assign guilt, and how hard it is to draw the line between victim and perpetrator in a blurred moral landscape in which every crime, on the battlefield or on the home front, is a crime of conscience.
Publishers Weekly
★ 11/18/2013
Oates (The Accursed) returns with another novel that ratchets up the unsettling to her signature feverish pitch. Beginning with an attention-grabbing opener that begets addictive reading—Zeno Mayfield and a search party are on the hunt for Mayfield’s missing 19-year-old daughter, Cressida, in the Adirondack woods—the story chronicles the creepy circumstances surrounding the girl’s assumed murder. Was she, as many in the upstate New York town of Carthage suspect, beaten to death and dumped in the Black River by her older sister’s ex-fiancé, Brett Kincaid, a decorated Iraqi War vet? Or did she, the “dark twisty” daughter prone to excessive self-loathing, play some perverse role in her own disappearance? What transports the story beyond a carefully crafted whodunit is Oates’s dogged exploration of each character’s culpability in the case, which spans nearly seven years. Between Kincaid’s noncoerced but PTSD-fueled confession and Cressida’s feelings that her family didn’t understand or love her enough (the source of her long-suppressed desire to escape from them), nearly everyone can somehow be held responsible for the supposed crime—and seen as its unintended victim. When the truth and its fallout finally becomes clear at the end, the mood is not surprisingly claustrophobic and grim. Once again, Oates’s gift for exposing the frailty—and selfishness—of humans is on display. (Feb.)
Library Journal
09/01/2013
When Zeno Mayfield's daughter can't be found, everyone in the small Appalachian town of Carthage joins in the hunt. Alas, the trail leads to an Iraq War hero with an association to the family—and terrible memories of battle. Further complicating matters, it seems that the missing girl may have been estranged from her family long before she vanished. With a 50,000-copy first printing.
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2013-11-03
Dark events in Carthage, a town in upstate New York--a war hero returning from Iraq, a broken engagement, a mysterious murder--but not everything is as it seems. Carthage seems to embody the values of small-town America, for its citizens are independent and patriotic, but in early July 2005, things start to go dreadfully wrong. Juliet Mayfield, older daughter of former Carthage mayor Zeno Mayfield, is planning her wedding but finds her fiance, Brett Kincaid, broken and strangely different when he returns from duty in Iraq. Cpl. Kincaid is on a passel of meds, walks with a limp and has obviously experienced a severe trauma while on active duty. Meanwhile, Juliet's cynical and smart-mouthed younger sister, Cressida (the "smart one" as opposed to Juliet, the "beautiful one"), disappears one Saturday night after uncharacteristically visiting a local bar. The next day, Kincaid appears, hung over and largely inarticulate, and blood is found on the seat of his Jeep. Although his mother defiantly defends him as a war hero, Kincaid eventually confesses to having murdered Cressida. The scene then shifts to Florida, seven years later, when an eccentric psychologist is interviewing Sabbath Mae McSwain for an intern position. She's defensive about a name that seems obviously made up, though she carries a birth certificate around with her, and becomes visibly nervous when the psychologist starts probing about her past. The psychologist has been writing a series of exposés entitled SHAME! and is currently working to expose conditions on death row. The novel then shifts once again, this time back to the past, to reveal how Cressida transformed into Sabbath, what horrors Kincaid experienced in Iraq and how Cressida got entangled with Kincaid on his return home. Knotted, tense, digressive and brilliant.
Lettres 2014 Readers Prize Elle
“Oates, working at the top of her formidable game, handily won over more of our readers with this raw, suspenseful, ‘real and immersive’ stream-of-consciousness tale.”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“a well-told tale of family, grief and faith”
Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Irresistible page-turner and heady intellectual experience… Oates continues to make her mark as one of the greatest American writers of our time.”
Philadelphia Inquirer
“Emphatically and artfully explores the subject of physical and emotional distances between loved ones, the various expanses between who individuals are, were, or could be, and the often barely perceptible gaps between guilt and innocence.”
Roanoke Times
“…one of America’s greatest writers…”
New York Times Book Review
“…Oates shows how perilous it is to assign guilt, and how hard it is to draw the line between victim and perpetrator in a blurred moral landscape in which every crime, on the battlefield or on the home front, is a crime of conscience.”
Daily Beast
“For pages on end it is a compelling mediation on belief, betrayal, and grief. Oates has written a good book. I’d recommend it. What does it matter if it is or is not a war novel. The best war novels aren’t war novels at all. They become something bigger.”
Washington Post
“…brilliant…amazing…. A compassionate tenderness suffuses the final sections of the book, as palpable as the cold irony with which the book begins. It’s a breathtaking effect…”
Booklist
“After her lavishly imagined, supernatural historical novel, The Accursed (2013), Oates turns in the latest of her intensely magnified studies of a family in crisis and the agony of a misfit girl.”
NPR
“Joyce Carol Oates has outdone herself.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062208125
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
01/21/2014
Pages:
496
Sales rank:
417,579
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.70(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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Carthage 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
bookwormRW More than 1 year ago
Joyce Carol Oates cuts to the bone! I couldn't put this one down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought the book was rather slow. The ending was odd.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Only half-way through, have been spell-bound from the start. Awe-struck by Oates' diversity with subject-matter, depth and complexity of characters, and ability to create a setting that is visually detailed and tangible.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This has every thing but the kitchen sink in it a mish mosh rather than burn out or writers block author is a hoarder saves every literary device
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was brilliant.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Boring. Repetative slog through overbearing, over written, condescending tripe about love, war, and humanity.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Same old same old and could this be another hidden ghost writter without credit?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i haven't read the book yet but having grown up not far from Carthage i fell the need to say that it is NOT in the Adirondacks, although they are not far, and it is NOT in Appalachia! some of these reviewers need to check the map!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I cant wait to read because it about war, love ,humanity and more
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kkkiiio