I once read a quote from Joyce Carol Oates that said if you were going to choose one book of her collection to start with, it would be either Blonde or Them. I chose Them and Oates could not have been more correct, as it only left me wanting to explore more of her vast catalog. Them follows the life of Loretta Wendall along with the lives of her children as they grow up, with the novel ending during the Detroit race riots. Pick up a copy of Them for an excellent American novel and to open your eyes to a huge selection of the works of Joyce Carol Oates. Recommended By Jeffrey J., Powells.com
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
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."