A Garden of Earthly Delights

A Garden of Earthly Delights


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A Garden of Earthly Delights by Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates’s Wonderland Quartet comprises four remarkable novels that explore social class in America and the inner lives of young Americans. In A Garden of Earthly Delights, Oates presents one of her most memorable heroines, Clara Walpole, the beautiful daughter of Kentucky-born migrant farmworkers. Desperate to rise above her haphazard existence of violence and poverty, determined not to repeat her mother’s life, Clara struggles for independence by way of her relationships with four very different men: her father, a family man turned itinerant laborer, smoldering with resentment; the mysterious Lowry, who rescues Clara as a teenager and offers her the possibility of love; Revere, a wealthy landowner who provides Clara with stability; and Swan, Clara’s son, who bears the psychological and spiritual burden of his mother’s ambition.

A masterly work from a writer with “the uncanny ability to give us a cinemascopic vision of her America” (National Review), A Garden of Earthly Delights is the opening stanza in what would become one of the most powerful and engrossing story arcs in literature.

A Garden of Earthly Delights is the first novel in the Wonderland Quartet. The books that complete this acclaimed series, Expensive People, them, and Wonderland, are also available from the Modern Library.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780812968347
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/22/2003
Series: 20th Century Rediscoveries Series , #1
Edition description: REV
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 515,915
Product dimensions: 5.16(w) x 7.98(h) x 0.98(d)

About the Author

Joyce Carol Oates is the Roger S. Berlind Professor in the Humanities at Princeton University. She is the author of numerous works of fiction and poetry, as well as books of essays, criticism, and plays. She lives in Princeton, New Jersey.


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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Garden of Earthly Delights 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous 12 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
HazelSR More than 1 year ago
Joyce Carol Oates is one of the most prolific, female, American authors, and yet I only now just stumbled upon her writing. This novel was extremely well written and beautiful in its own sense. Oates used language in a new and different way from those around her. She depicted the life of a poor, migrant girl and her attempt for autonomy. Clara's ambitions, likely similar to many others of her time and sex, was to be free of her childhood and poverty. She accomplishes this and yet sacrifices a lot in the process. All in all, this was a fantastic book, and I look forward to reading the other three in this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kristin_C More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book! Oates really was able to grab my attention within the first few pages. The first section of the book is written beautifully and completely sets the reader inside the story. The language is very foul yet it absolutely is required to set the scene and develop the characters. The story moves along at a steady pace, not too fast but possibly a little slow in a few sections, particularly the hunting scene in the III part of the book. Had I not found myself a little bored with that section, this book would have received 5 stars. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i bought this book a while ago and i still haven't finished it. it drags on forver. not a very good book.