What I Lived For

Overview

At forty-two, Jerome Corcoran - "Corky" to his friends and associates - is by all appearances a successful real estate developer and broker, a city councilman with a promising future in local politics, a genuine ladies' man, and all-around great guy. His big house, fifteen-hundred-dollar suits, and the ridiculously large tips he hands out all over town reassure him that he's put plenty of distance between himself and the family history (which includes a murdered father and raving mad mother) he'd rather forget. ...
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Overview

At forty-two, Jerome Corcoran - "Corky" to his friends and associates - is by all appearances a successful real estate developer and broker, a city councilman with a promising future in local politics, a genuine ladies' man, and all-around great guy. His big house, fifteen-hundred-dollar suits, and the ridiculously large tips he hands out all over town reassure him that he's put plenty of distance between himself and the family history (which includes a murdered father and raving mad mother) he'd rather forget. Corky may think that his inauspicious beginnings on Irish Hill, one of Union City's shabbier neighborhoods, are now far behind him, but over the course of Memorial Day Weekend 1992, that precious illusion, along with several others, will be completely shattered. In the long list of Corky's women, only one looms larger for him than his own appetites and self-interest: Thalia, his rebellious, radicalized step-daughter from his failed marriage. It is she who will become the agent of his undoing as a complex drama of corruption, blackmail, and political scandal climaxes in an act of explosive violence.

A national bestseller, lauded as an "American Inferno . . . boldly inventive" (New York Times Book Review), Oates' searing portrait of one man's road to moral ruin delves deep into the contemporary psyche of a world in the midst of decline.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Another big novel from the prolific Oates, this tale of a successful middle-aged real estate developer whose hidden past surges up to wreak havoc on his present was one of PW's best books for 1994 and a PEN/Faulkner nominee. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Oates's latest novel is a big, breathless, complex, and sometimes painfully intense tale relating one man's every thought and move during the 1992 Memorial Day weekend. Corky Corcoran is a cocky, Irish Catholic, alcoholic, self-made millionaire as well as a city council member in Union City, New York. The turning point for Corky comes with the suicide of Marilee Plummer, a beautiful, politically ambitious black woman who had recently accused a black city council member of raping her. Even in his befuddled, alcoholic state, Corky wonders if his political friends had orchestrated Marilee's death and calls for a full investigation that antagonizes city government. Despite a somewhat contrived climax, Oates has created a remarkably detailed portrait of a man's life; however, Corky, an essentially stupid man whose actions are usually governed by his sexual or violent impulses, doesn't seem to merit such concentrated scrutiny. An interesting addition to Oates's body of work, this is recommended for public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/94.]-Patricia Ross, Westerville P.L., Ohio
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780452272699
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/1/1995
  • Pages: 624
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.40 (d)

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