A tender, hilarious novel about contemporary America. With 'Middle Age' Joyce Carol Oates has been acclaimed as one of the most important writers of her time. Salthill-on-Hudson is half an hour outside New York, a place where the inhabitants are beautiful, rich and, though they look younger than they really are, middle-aged. When the enigmatic ...
A tender, hilarious novel about contemporary America. With 'Middle Age' Joyce Carol Oates has been acclaimed as one of the most important writers of her time. Salthill-on-Hudson is half an hour outside New York, a place where the inhabitants are beautiful, rich and, though they look younger than they really are, middle-aged. When the enigmatic sculptor Adam Berendt dies suddenly, his death sends shock waves through the town. His loss and rumours of Adam's possible lovers force the community to re-evaluate their lives. Adam's lawyer, Roger Cavanagh, who has broken the law for Adam's sake, becomes involved with an elusive and perhaps treacherous young woman. Marina Troy exiles herself to fulfil a wish Adam had made for her. Lionel sets out, unwisely but with great hope, to re capture his youth lost after a lifetime of financial success, even as his wife Camille discovers an unspeakable joy close to home. Augusta Cutler, a hitherto sensuous, unreflective woman, sets out defiantly to solve the mystery of Adam's origins. 'Middle Age' is an intimately drawn group portrait and a richly sympathetic yet unsparingly comic portrait of present-day affluent America from one of the finest writers of contemporary fiction.
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Publishers Weekly, 2001-08-13 A romance? The hero dies in the opening pages, adolescents renounce their parents and the grownups aren't true to themselves, much less each other, because they have no idea what they are. In the Lexus-crowded town of Salthill-on-Hudson, husbands and wives share beds in which the linens meet more crisply than the bodies. "How eternal is a single night, and of what eternities are our long marriages composed!" And yet romance is deep in the bones of this soaring epic of renewal and redemption, an Easter of the flesh, a Viagra of the soul. Sculptor Adam Berendt goes into cardiac arrest while saving a child from drowning, and so redeems the 50-somethings of Salthill with his death; he confers the idea and the actuality of grace on their lives. It may be said of Oates's oeuvre that it is a long marriage between author and reader, composed of many eternities. Her sentences seem to contain more sentiment per word than anyone else's. She punishes us with terrible truths: Death lurks at every window and Eros is a demon, worshiped at awful cost. In marriages charged with such import, one must cheat in order to breathe, as Augusta Cutler discovers after Adam's death, when she leaves her husband, Owen, to ferret out the truth about Adam, and herself, and to find respite. Reminiscent of her powerful Black Water, but equipped with a happy ending, Oates's latest once more confirms her mastery of the form. (Sept. 10) Forecast: Of late, Oates can do no wrong. Deep in her career, she is pulling out the stops again. Since the success of Blonde, and Oprah's February 2001 selection of We Were the Mulvaneys, more readers than ever will be gravitating to her new work (and her backlist, too), and they should be thoroughly satisfied with her latest offering. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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