Synopses & Reviews
Joyce Carol Oatess Wonderland Quartet comprises four remarkable novels that explore social class in America and the inner lives of young Americans. In Expensive People, Oates takes a provocative and suspenseful look at the roiling secrets of Americas affluent suburbs. Set in the late 1960s, this first-person confession is narrated by Richard Everett, a precocious and obese boy who sees himself as a minor character in the alarming drama unfolding around him.
Fascinated by yet alienated from his attractive, self-absorbed parents and the privileged world they inhabit, Richard incisively analyzes his own mismanaged childhood, his pretentious private schooling, his “successful-executive” father, and his elusive mother. In an act of defiance and desperation, eleven-year-old Richard strikes out in a way that presages the violence of ever-younger Americans in the turbulent decades to come.
A National Book Award finalist, Expensive People is a stunning combination of social satire and gothic horror. “You cannot put this novel away after you have opened it,” said The Detroit News. “This is that kind of book-hypnotic, fascinating, and electrifying.”
Expensive People is the second novel in the Wonderland Quartet. The books that complete this acclaimed series, A Garden of Earthly Delights, them, and Wonderland, are also available from the Modern Library.
The riveting novel about a child murderer, told by the killer himself was nominated for a 1968 National Book Award.
About the Author
Joyce Carol Oates is the Roger S. Berlind Professor in the Humanities at Princeton University. The bestselling author of the novels We Were the Mulvaneys and Blonde, she has written numerous works of fiction as well as poetry, essays, criticism, and plays.