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Themby Joyce Carol Oates
Synopses & Reviews
Winner of the National Book Award and in print for more than thirty years, Them ranks as one of the most masterly portraits of postwar America ever written by a novelist. Including several new pages and text substantially revised and updated by the author, this Modern Library edition is the most current and accurate version available of Oates' seminal work.
A novel about class, race, and the horrific, glassy sparkle of urban life, Them chronicles the lives of the Wendalls, a family on the steep edge of poverty in the windy, riotous Detroit slums. Loretta, beautiful and dreamy and full of regret by age sixteen, and her two children, Maureen and Jules, make up Oates' vision of the American family — broken, marginal, and romantically proud. The novel's title, pointedly uncapitalized, refers to those Americans who inhabit the outskirts of society — men and women, mothers and children — whose lives many authors in the 1960s had left unexamined. Alfred Kazin called her subject "the sheer rich chaos of American life." The Nation wrote, "When Miss Oates' potent, life-gripping imagination and her skill at narrative are conjoined, as they are preeminently in them, she is a prodigious writer."
In addition to the text revisions, this new edition contains an Afterword by the author and a new Introduction by Greg Johnson, Oates' biographer and the author of two monographs on the work of Joyce Carol Oates.
"A superbly accomplished vision." John Leonard, The New York Times
"That rarity in American fiction, a writer who seems to grow with each book." Time
"When Miss Oates' potent, life-gripping imagination and her skill at narrative are conjoined, as they are pre-eminently in Them, she is a prodigious writer." The Nation
Joyce Carol Oatess Wonderland Quartet comprises four remarkable novels that explore social class in America and the inner lives of young Americans. As powerful and relevant today as it on its initial publication, them chronicles the tumultuous lives of a family living on the edge of ruin in the Detroit slums, from the 1930s to the 1967 race riots. Praised by The Nation for her “potent, life-gripping imagination,” Oates traces the aspirations and struggles of Loretta Wendall, a dreamy young mother who is filled with regret by the age of sixteen, and the subsequent destinies of her children, Maureen and Jules, who must fight to survive in a world of violence and danger.
Winner of the National Book Award, them is an enthralling novel about love, class, race, and the inhumanity of urban life. It is, raves The New York Times, “a superbly accomplished vision.”
Them is the third novel in the Wonderland Quartet. The books that complete this acclaimed series, A Garden of Earthly Delights, Expensive People, and Wonderland, are also available from the Modern Library.
About the Author
One of the most versatile and accomplished writers of our time, Joyce Carol Oates has influenced the American literary landscape perhaps even more than we realize. The New York Times Book Review suggests, "With occasional exceptions (Joyce, Flaubert), we finally care most about novelists like Dickens, George Eliot, Balzac, Tolstoy, Hardy, James, Conrad, Lawrence or Faulkner whose work is copious enough to constitute a 'world,' and though no guarantees can be offered, energy like Joyce Carol Oates' may find an eventual reward."
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