We Were the Mulvaneys (The Perennial Collection)

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9780007268399: We Were the Mulvaneys (The Perennial Collection)

The Mulvaneys are blessed by all that makes life sweet—a hardworking father, a loving mother, three fine sons, and a bright, pretty daughter. They are confident in their love for each other and their position in the rural community of Mt. Ephraim, New York. But something happens on Valentine's Day, 1976—an incident that is hushed up in the town and never spoken of in the Mulvaney home—that rends the fabric of their family life. As the years pass the secrets they keep from each other threaten to destroy them, but ultimately they bridge the chasms between them, and reunite in the spirit of love and healing. Rarely has such an acclaimed writer made such a startling and inspiring statement about the value of hope and compassion.

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Review:

A happy family, the Mulvaneys. After decades of marriage, Mom and Dad are still in love--and the proud parents of a brood of youngsters that includes a star athlete, a class valedictorian, and a popular cheerleader. Home is an idyllic place called High Point Farm. And the bonds of attachment within this all-American clan do seem both deep and unconditional: "Mom paused again, drawing in her breath sharply, her eyes suffused with a special lustre, gazing upon her family one by one, with what crazy unbounded love she gazed upon us, and at such a moment my heart would contract as if this woman who was my mother had slipped her fingers inside my rib cage to contain it, as you might hold a wild, thrashing bird to comfort it."

But as we all know, Eden can't last forever. And in the hands of Joyce Carol Oates, who's chronicled just about every variety of familial dysfunction, you know the fall from grace is going to be a doozy. By the time all is said and done, a rape occurs, a daughter is exiled, much alcohol is consumed, and the farm is lost. Even to recount these events in retrospect is a trial for the Mulvaney offspring, one of whom declares: "When I say this is a hard reckoning I mean it's been like squeezing thick drops of blood from my veins." In the hands of a lesser writer, this could be the stuff of a bad television movie. But this is Oates's 26th novel, and by now she knows her material and her craft to perfection. We Were the Mulvaneys is populated with such richly observed and complex characters that we can't help but care about them, even as we wait for disaster to strike them down. --Anita Urquhart

About the Author:

In addition to many prize-winning and bestselling novels, JOYCE CAROL OATES is the author of a number of works of award-winning gothic fiction. In 1994, Oates received the Bram Stoker Lifetime Achievement Award in Horror Fiction. She lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

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Joyce Carol Oates
Published by HarperPerennial (2008)
ISBN 10: 0007268394 ISBN 13: 9780007268399
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
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Book Description HarperPerennial, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0007268394

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