We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
 >   > 
We Were the Mulvaneys Audiobook

We Were the Mulvaneys

Regular Price:$41.99
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

Author of 27 novels, Joyce Carol Oates has won a National Book Award and the PEN/Malamud Award. She has been nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Readers around the world marvel at her ability to trace the subtle dynamics at work in the modern American family.

Judd is the youngest of the four Mulvaney children - three boys and a girl - on their parents’ lush farm in upstate New York. In his childhood, Judd is swept along by the sheer energy of the Mulvaneys and their wealth of beloved family stories. But now, 30 years old, Judd looks back through his memories to tell the secrets that eventually ripped apart the fabric of his storybook family.

Reminiscent of the works of Jane Smiley and Anne Tyler, Oates’ novel tells a tale that could be tragic, but is, instead, a ringing affirmation. Narrator Scott Shina’s performance perfectly captures the complex relationships within the Mulvaney clan.

©1996 The Ontario Review, Inc. (P)2001 Recorded Books, LLC

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (226 )
5 star
 (72)
4 star
 (75)
3 star
 (44)
2 star
 (19)
1 star
 (16)
Overall
3.8 (173 )
5 star
 (65)
4 star
 (51)
3 star
 (26)
2 star
 (17)
1 star
 (14)
Story
4.0 (167 )
5 star
 (71)
4 star
 (48)
3 star
 (29)
2 star
 (8)
1 star
 (11)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Jason United States 10-26-12
    Jason United States 10-26-12 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Overlooked Masterpiece"

    Mulvaneys deserves more attention and prominence in Oates' oeuvre. It didn't receive a National Book Award (like here 1969 work, them) or a Pulitzer nomination (like Black Water, What I Lived For, and Blonde). It's notoriety came from selection by the Oprah book club and a movie adaptation.

    But Mulvaneys is excellent! Oates crafts perceptibly realistic characters, who are as emotionally complicated and psychologically baffling as any real human being. The novel also interestingly forays into religious and epistemological issues; in fact, Oates depicts the religious Maryanne heroically, though she cannot defend her faith against her brother's deep-seeded naturalism.

    Oates impinges stirring literary conceits upon this simple story, which she admits is indebted to Shakespeare’s King Lear. The narration, generally linear, features vivid flashbacks. The structure works compellingly well, as the flashbacks provide foil for the proceedings of the novel.

    The narration is quite good with one exception. Shina often hints at a rural Southern accent, but the work is set in rural upstate New York. This was distracting through the first third of the audiobook.

    Otherwise, it's a great listen!

    12 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandra LI New York 10-18-13
    Sandra LI New York 10-18-13 Member Since 2013

    Bookworm

    HELPFUL VOTES
    99
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    58
    58
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "WE WERE THE DYSFUNCTIONALS"

    Twenty-two hours of nothing. This is a story of a superficial family, growing up in a small town and constantly worrying about appearances. Mrs. Mulvaney was moving about with her head in the clouds. She seemed more concerned about the farm animals than she was about her husband and children. She chose to hide behind her faith in God with the expectation that her family would take care of themselves. Not having parents to guide her, the daughter was left floundering and on her own. The father was no better with parenting skills. He focused on having a successful business and living a superficial life, even to the point of joining a country club where he was only tolerated. One act of violence, eventually forced this family to realize that they had no foundation to keep them strong.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    amazon customer 11-30-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Performance Reservations"

    With all due respect to the difficulty of narration, and while Mr. Shins is clearly a professional, the performance completely misses the voice of place critical to this story. He should have been coached to speak the dialog closer to a Central New York accent and speech pattern. Too often rural voices are spoken in a totally generic southern drawl. I can assure you this voice would be completely foreign in the Chautaqua Valley, where speech is much flatter, closer to French Canadian. I couldn't take it and decided to read the book instead. If you're not as familiar with CNY, or not as picky, it may not bother you at all. The story is very true in spirit to the place and time, as Oates understands this community in her bones.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Phyllis Newark, NJ, United States 01-12-11
    Phyllis Newark, NJ, United States 01-12-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Forgot how amazing this book is!"

    I read this before, maybe 10 years ago, but forgot what a powerful story it is. So glad to have listened to it!

    10 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    karen 01-30-13
    karen 01-30-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2075
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    256
    216
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    284
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An American classic!"

    It's a good thing all audiobooks aren't as good as "We Were the Mulvaney's" -- nobody would get anything done. We'd just sit and listen. I normally stay away from Oprah books, but this one is magnificent, pure Americana. Absolutely excellent.

    I admit to having read this book at least three times, but this was my first (although certainly not my last) listen. I was a little hesitant, not wanting a less-than-stellar narration to 'ruin' it for me, but that certainly was not the case. Scott Shina does an admirable job, getting all the family members just right. Not easy -- capturing the slightly ditsy Corrine, so she doesn't sound like a maniac, but clearly as someone with a few 'issues'. Or Patrick, with his high intelligence, who needs to come off as someone who loves to know everything, but not as superior or arrogant. Even the eccentric and crusty Whittaker West, who came across exactly right, as a mensch underneath it all.

    It's a sad book, in so many ways. In the beginning, when everything is perfect in a big-family 'Sunnybrook Farm' sort of way, I find myself thinking that I'd be happy if the book just went on like this forever. But of course it doesn't. 'Something' happens to Marianne, and that changes not only the family dynamic forever, but ultimately results in ... well, read it and find out. I wouldn't spoil anyone's pleasure for a moment.

    I will say this: If you loved the book, you may want to skip the over-long author interview at the end. Usually I love those interviews -- the ones Nelson DeMille does, with many of his books, are wonderful and add so much to the book. Not this one. The fact that Oates tries to justify Michael, the father's, actions makes my skin crawl. I also fail to see the heroism she attributes to Marianne -- that wasn't saintliness, in my mind. It was insanity. We do agree on this, though: the animals -- all of them -- were characters all by themselves in this book. If I had a nickel for every tear I've shed over Muffin, I could retire.

    Whatever, it's a masterpiece. Just clear your calendar for 22 hours. It's worth it.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer 02-10-13

    virginia

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Why the Texas Accent?"

    Aside from the middlebrow writing of Oates, the narrator is completely irritating. The Mulvaneys live in upstate New York and always have. But whenever the narrator "does" either the mother's or the father's voices, he uses a down-home Texas accent. Mrs. Mulvaney sounds like Sissy Spacek. It is so irritating I could not go on.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Victoria Wright The Berkshires, MA 01-21-13
    Victoria Wright The Berkshires, MA 01-21-13 Member Since 2017

    BookmarkServices.net

    HELPFUL VOTES
    142
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    212
    45
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    7
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Another outstanding book ruined by the narrator"

    Joyce Carol Oates is a brilliant writer, and this book doesn't disappoint. But the narrator is juvenile, inept, and a bit patronizing in his reading, to the point where I frankly can't imagine getting through the audio. The story of this family might be engrossing and heartbreaking to many listeners; I am resentful on the author's behalf that this twit's rendition of it may drive them away.

    Her "A Widow's Story," on the other hand, was exquisitely read.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Morgantown, WV, United States 12-21-10
    Susan Morgantown, WV, United States 12-21-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Great Book"

    You get to know the characters very well, emotions are brought to the surface. It will make you cry & laugh!

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W Perry Hall 05-28-17

    "There is scarcely any passion without struggle." Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2485
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    815
    368
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    180
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Who doesn't desire his father's death?--Dostoevsky"

    It seems to me that Joyce Carol could have shown what she wanted to show--the disintegration of a seemingly typical family--in three-hundred pages instead of four-hundred and fifty plus.

    Besides its verbosity, the chief problem I had with the novel was that Oates kept trying to make the point that the family's downfall was not due to "any one person's fault." It was no doubt set in motion by the date rape of the daughter by a guy who attended high school with her and one of her three brothers. Yet, to assign no fault to the parents defies reason and truth when the father turned out to be a pathetic jackass for his absolute indifference or at least reckless cruelty to his daughter and the mother a complicit rag-a-muffin, recklessly indifferent to her baby girl.

    It was just too much for me to believe the dad's unexplained refusal to have anything to do with his daughter after the rape, and the mom's role in casting the daughter out into the world on dad's behalf, as if the rape was their daughter's fault. I didn't get any indication (despite how much Oates seems to go on and on and on) that the parents believed their daughter was not credible or that she was "asking for" the rape, no matter how illogical such a belief would be.

    Daddy Mulvaney is eaten up by resentment, and certainly that isn't unrealistic, as the reader watches him become a cancer to the world around him, including to his family. Most men cannot deal with problems that they cannot fix. And, a high school daughter cannot be "fixed" from the harm she has suffered from a rape. When Daddy realizes this, he is consumed with rage at the boy who raped her, at the boy's family, at the law, at the members of his country club, at everyone.

    Mom is Daddy's hick flop who shows no reservations or guilt or shame about the treatment of her daughter.

    Last, I found it nearly absurd that a mother would treat household pets and farm animals better and as more important than her own children.

    There are simply too many unexplained oddities for the novel to feel true to me.

    I hate to say that this novel could lead one to agree with Dostoevsky's rhetorical.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kate Florida USA 06-29-14
    Kate Florida USA 06-29-14 Member Since 2011

    Gracie Kate

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    29
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Joyce Carol Oates - a master storyteller"

    Don't delay! Download this book right away. I kept passing over this book for one reason or another, and finally decided to use a credit and listen. I wish I had done it sooner. This is added to my all time favorites list.

    Excellent narration.
    Touching story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.