Joyce Carol Oates is one of the world's most respected living novelists. Her new novel is an intense, deeply moving story of how a young woman finds her place in the world. 'In those days in the early 1960s we were not women yet but girls. This was, without irony perceived as our advantage.' So begins 'I'll Take You There', an astonishingly ...
Joyce Carol Oates is one of the world's most respected living novelists. Her new novel is an intense, deeply moving story of how a young woman finds her place in the world. 'In those days in the early 1960s we were not women yet but girls. This was, without irony perceived as our advantage.' So begins 'I'll Take You There', an astonishingly intimate and unsparing self-portrait of a young woman who comes of age in the most turbulent of American decades. 'Anellia' -- as she sometimes calls herself -- is a student at Syracuse University, the first time she has lived away from her family. Headstrong, passionate, occasionally obsessive, she is pitiless in exposing herself to her new life as she searches for a place in the world. In her quest for belonging, 'Anellia' discovers the risks, and curious rewards, of confronting the world: being taken in, and then cruelly rejected by a 'sisterhood' of her fellow students, falling recklessly in love with an older graduate student who happens to be black, making a journey westward when summoned by a figure from her past who she believed to be dead. Through this triptych of events, the atoms of 'Anellia's' life comes together as she begins her journey into adulthood. Joyce Carol Oates' new novel confirms her as one of America's most important writers. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our times. 'I'll Take You There' is a deeply moving, wry, intense examination of how a girl becomes a young woman.
Publishers Weekly, 2002-08-26 Most of us transcend the solipsism of loneliness by involvement in family, school or work. "Anellia," the narrator of Oates's 30th novel (who never reveals her real name), is denied the comfort of a family, finds education to be a frustrating journey through various hostile worlds and finally becomes that most solitary of creatures, a writer. The time is the early '60s. Anellia is the last child of Ida and Eric. After Ida's death (for which Anellia is blamed by her three brothers), Eric leaves his daughter to be raised by his cold German Lutheran parents in the upstate New York town of Strykersville. Anellia wins a scholarship to Syracuse University around 1960. She becomes for a period a Kappa Gamma Pi. The conventionally girlish Kappas are a decidedly different breed from Anellia: she is intellectual, shy, careless of her looks and hygiene, poor. Eventually the Kappas and Anellia come to a violent parting of the ways. Next, Anellia has a depressingly anhedonic affair with a black philosophy graduate student, Vernor Matheius. Vernor is trying to hold himself aloof from the civil rights struggle making the evening news, yet necessarily becomes drawn in. In the final section, Anellia, living in Vermont and working on her first book, goes to Utah to be with her father on his deathbed. Oates's fans will be pleased by the usual care with which she goes about constructing the psychology of Anellia and Vernor, but may find Anellia too narrow and stifling a spirit, limiting the larger gestures and bravura flashes of gothicism at which Oates excels. (Oct. 4)
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