The Lost Landscape: A Writer's Coming of Age

The Lost Landscape: A Writer's Coming of Age

by Joyce Carol Oates


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Written with the raw honesty and poignant insight that were the hallmarks of her acclaimed bestseller A Widow’s Story, an affecting and observant memoir of growing up from one of our finest and most beloved literary masters.

The Lost Landscape is Joyce Carol Oates’ vivid chronicle of her hardscrabble childhood in rural western New York State. From memories of her relatives, to those of a charming bond with a special red hen on her family farm; from her first friendships to her earliest experiences with death, The Lost Landscape is a powerful evocation of the romance of childhood, and its indelible influence on the woman and the writer she would become.

In this exceptionally candid, moving, and richly reflective account, Oates explores the world through the eyes of her younger self, an imaginative girl eager to tell stories about the world and the people she meets. While reading Alice in Wonderland changed a young Joyce forever and inspired her to view life as a series of endless adventures, growing up on a farm taught her harsh lessons about sacrifice, hard work, and loss. With searing detail and an acutely perceptive eye, Oates renders her memories and emotions with exquisite precision, transporting us to a forgotten place and time—the lost landscape of her youth, reminding us of the forgotten landscapes of our own earliest lives. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062408679
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/08/2015
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 829,960
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)

About 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, and has been several times 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 Falls, which won the 2005 Prix Femina. Her most recent novel is A Book of American Martyrs. 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.


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

Table of Contents

Author's Note xi


We Begin 3

Mommy & Me 5

Happy Chicken: 1942-1944 11

Discovering Alice: 1947 41

District School #7, Niagara County, New York 45

Piper Cub 55

After Black Rock 61

Sunday Drive 69

Fred's Signs 81

"They All Just Went Away" 85

"Where Has God Gone" 109

Headlights: The First Death 135

"The Brush" 141

An Unsolved Mystery: The Lost Friend 145

"Start Your Own Business!" 183

The Lost Sister: An Elegy 201

Nighthawk: Recollections of a Lost Time 223


Detroit: Lost City 1962-1968 269

Story Into Film: "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" And Smooth Talk 277

Photo Shoot: West Eleventh Street, Nyc, March 6, 1970 285

Food Mysteries 293

Facts, Visions, Mysteries: My Father Frederic Oates, November 1988 299

A Letter to My Mother Carolina on Her Seventy-Eighth Birthday, November 8, 1994 325

"When I Was a Little Girl and My Mother Didn't Want Me" 331


Excerpt, Telephone Conversation with My Father Frederic Oates, May 1999 339

The Long Romance 341

My Mother's Quilts 345

Afterword 349

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