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We Were the Mulvaneys | [Joyce Carol Oates]

We Were the Mulvaneys

The Mulvaneys of High Point Farm in Mt. Ephraim, New York, are a large and fortunate clan, blessed with good looks, abundant charisma, and boundless promise. But over the 25-year span of this ambitious novel, the Mulvaneys will slide, almost imperceptibly at first, from the pinnacle of happiness, transformed by the vagaries of fate into a scattered collection of lost and lonely souls. It is the youngest son, Judd, now an adult, who attempts to piece together the fragments of the Mulvaneys' former glory, seeking to uncover and understand the secret violation that occasioned the family's tragic downfall.
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Publisher's Summary

The Mulvaneys of High Point Farm in Mt. Ephraim, New York, are a large and fortunate clan, blessed with good looks, abundant charisma, and boundless promise. But over the 25-year span of this ambitious novel, the Mulvaneys will slide, almost imperceptibly at first, from the pinnacle of happiness, transformed by the vagaries of fate into a scattered collection of lost and lonely souls. It is the youngest son, Judd, now an adult, who attempts to piece together the fragments of the Mulvaneys' former glory, seeking to uncover and understand the secret violation that occasioned the family's tragic downfall. Each of the Mulvaneys endures some form of exile - physical or spiritual - but in the end they find a way to bridge the chasms that have opened up among them, reuniting in the spirit of love and healing.

©1996 The Ontario Review, Inc. (P)2001 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

What the Critics Say

"The Mulvaneys get under our skin and demand that we pay attention." (New York Newsday)

"If you haven't read Joyce Carol Oates before, start here, and now." (The Independent)

"A grand symphonic novel.... One of Oates' finest." (San Francisco Chronicle)

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  • Sarah
    GLASGOW, United Kingdom
    5/18/13
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    "Beware the demon drink"

    A happy farm family are thrown into despair when their 14 year old daughter is raped after a school dance. As the daughter is very moral and churchy, she can't honestly say who it was as the person spiked her drink, and so the culprit goes free.

    Here is where I got really angry with the story, and I suppose that's the sign of a good book that is makes you think. The dad just couldn't look at the daughter anymore and she was sent away to relatives. She was pretty much miserable thereafter. I was so sorry for the daughter and that made me quite harsh in my feelings towards the dad's later downfall.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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