You Must Remember This

You Must Remember This

3.5 6
by Joyce Carol Oates

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"An American masterpiece . . . Oates' sprawling novel is the definitive history of an era."--James Atlas, Vanity Fair "A fierce vision of America during the 1950s . . . in powerful, meticulous prose."--New York Times


"An American masterpiece . . . Oates' sprawling novel is the definitive history of an era."--James Atlas, Vanity Fair "A fierce vision of America during the 1950s . . . in powerful, meticulous prose."--New York Times

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Prolific writer Oates demonstrates awesome talent in her new novel, a family saga, set against the backdrop of conservatism that marked America in the 1950s. Through the actions of Lyle Stevick and his family, Oates creates a vivid portrait of bewildered, inarticulate people pushed against the narrow boundaries of their era by their emotions. Lyle is a man of small failures and smaller successes, a dealer in used furniture whose marriage is a continual reminder of one moment's misspent passion. He regards his brother Felix, a boxer, with cynicism born of envy. Lyle loves his children, but clearly does not know them. He is blind to his daughter Enid's affair with the virile Felix. Oates is not easy on her characters. She moves them through McCarthyism, backyard fallout shelters and illegal abortions, slapping them with harsh reflections of their weaknesses. Fully developed, they are described in language that is both elegant and gritty. The scenes between Enid and Felix add a pulsing, sensate eroticism. Infused with narrative energy, this is one of Oates's strongest books in many seasons. 50,000 first printing; major ad/promo; Literary Guild main selection. (August 10)

Product Details

Random House Value Publishing, Incorporated
Publication date:

Meet the Author

In addition to many prize-winning and bestselling novels, including We Were the Mulvaneys, Black Water, and Because It Is Bitter and Because It Is My Heart (available in Plume editions), Joyce Carol Oates is the author of a number of works of gothic fiction including Haunted: Tales of the Grotesque (Plume), a 1995 World Fantasy Award nominee; and Zombie (Plume), winner of the 1996 Bram Stoker Award for Best Horror Novel, awarded by the Horror Writers' Association. In 1994, Oates received the Bram Stoker Lifetime Achievement Award in Horror Fiction. She is the editor of American Gothic Tales and her latest novel is Broke Heart Blues (Dutton). She lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

Brief Biography

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

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You Must Remember This 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This mid-length novel details the lives of Enid, Felix and Lyle Stevick very well, weaving them together in violent, explicit and tragic ways to show a tapestry of life in America’s “golden years”. Though published in 1987, You Must Remember This exposes taboo topics from the fifties. This novel will cultivate readership today and tomorrow because these “forbidden” topics of childhood sexuality, lust, governmental distrust, death, mortality, self-control and rebellion remain relevant.  Oates depiction of a grey, dilapidated fictitious town in upstate New York is uncanny and parallels real-life upstate New York well (sorry Buffalo area). Through her excellent writing, Oates makes this novel worth the read even with an unclear resolution. Maybe this was her intention, to startle, shock and jolt the reader into a new perspective on adolescent sexuality and our own mortality.  Grab a large glass of cabernet, your snuggie and slightly overweight cat and get ready for a gripping and powerful novel that will erase your weekend.  Final book rating: 82/100
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book seemed to me to be typical Joyce Carol Oates. Her characters are so richly drawn that you feel they are neighbors. In this particular book, the characters are not likeable but I still cared about what happened to them. The different twists in plot that she takes and the suspense she builds kept me turning the pages eager to find out what the outcome would be but at the end I still felt there was more story to be told.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be extremely boring. It starts off all right, but just seems to drag on and on without every getting anywhere. I would recommend reading The Falls instead. It is much better than this one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A truly entertaining novel by Ms Oates! My first time reading one of her books and certainly not the last. The Stevicks are a very realistic family who will always keep you turning pages to find out what happens next. The relationship between Enid and her 'uncle' Felix is strange and enchanting, forbidden yet,secretly you want happiness for them. The political atmosphere reminds one of Tolstoy, strangly. A Must Read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read many books by Joyce Carol Oates, but I love this one the most. It reads easily and truthfully, and I plan to read it again. Highly recommended.