We Were The Mulvaneys

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We Were The Mulvaneys

by Joyce Carol Oates

Plume | January 24, 2001 | Trade Paperback

We Were The Mulvaneys is rated 2.6667 out of 5 by 9.
A New York Times Notable Book and a former Oprah Book Club® selection

Moving away from the dark tone of her more recent masterpieces, Joyce Carol Oates turns the tale of a family struggling to cope with its fall from grace into a deeply moving and unforgettable account of the vigor of hope and the power of love to prevail over suffering. 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 twenty-five 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. Profoundly cathartic, Oates'' acclaimed novel unfolds as if, in the darkness of the human spirit, she has come upon a source of light at its core. Rarely has a writer made such a startling and inspiring statement about the value of hope and compassion.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 1 pages, 9.05 × 6.05 × 1.15 in

Published: January 24, 2001

Publisher: Plume

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0452282829

ISBN - 13: 9780452282827

Found in: Fiction and Literature
Appropriate for ages: 18 - 18

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Reviews

Rated 1 out of 5 by from What a waste of time This book took me a long time to struggle though. It was very painful to read. It felt as though the author was going one way and then switched and went another. I finished it, but I wasn't happy with it.
Date published: 2005-08-10
Rated 1 out of 5 by from We Were the Mulvaneys This was the most painful read. Oprah! What were you thinking? It took me 3 months to finish this book, and only because I started to read it. The last chapter was a bit bearable, slight positive emotion, and then - the end. Absolutely a waste of time, dragged on and on about nothing. First and last Oprah's pick I will every read.
Date published: 2005-08-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Family Warmth to Family Pain The family in this novel starts out being a comfortable warm place to be. Then it goes slowly more and more down, down. The reader senses the discomfort of the narrator/family member. Why does the mother put up with the father's distance from his children? She sides with him against her own children by allowing him to keep her away from the children too. This was not explained or resolved. The family starts out enjoying each others company and in the end become distanced from each other (physically and emotionally). The book ends in gloom, without hope. I kept waiting for some thing to happen to force them to face each other but it never happened. What a gloomy read!
Date published: 2002-10-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Expected better I have read some of Oprah's picks, but this book really wasn't up to par compared to the others. Oates is a good writer, but I wasn't drawn into the book as I expected myself to be. It could have been a lot shorter with having the same effect as Oates intended. In all, I think this book was poor-average. The characters were interesting and well developed, but her point of view felt very skewed while I was reading.
Date published: 2001-05-08
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Predictable and Boring "We Were The Mulvaneys" was a big disappointment. This is the first time I have read anything by JCO and if it's indicative of her writing style it will be the last! Long, run-on sentances and thoughts that are dis-jointed and misplaced. I struggled through this book and rolled my eyes at the end. The title and first few pages predict the ending about this boring family with an exaggerated sense of self-importance. No epic or sweeping saga here.
Date published: 2001-04-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from COMPELLING FAMILY SAGA I found this to be one of the finest and most profound books I have read in a long time. The added bonus was that when I went to CHAPTERS to look for the book, not only did they have a large stock of it, but it was on sale at 30% off!"We Were the Mulvaneys" is a grand and sweeping family saga. I felt as if I were a member of this family as Joyce Carol Oates makes her characters come to life. The lesson to be learned from this story is to never take your life for granted. The Mulvaneys' life appears to be a full and happy one until a tragic incident occurs that turns their world upside down. Never have I read such a book that makes a "startling and inspiring statement about the value of hope and compassion". I didn't want this book to end.
Date published: 2001-03-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I couldn't put it down!!!! I loved the book from the start to the finish. It was so well described both in emotions and the surroundings of wherever the story was being told from. I had to keep telling myself that is was a work of fiction. I wanted someone to shake the family, to make them understand or receive outside help to help resolve the emotional anger that was destroying the home. I felt so badly for Marianne who kept everyone at such a distance that no one could love her as a person. I was thrilled that she ended up where she did with animals and a wonderful man in her life. As a parent who went through difficult times with my child I felt I was in a fog like Corinne. She always thought things would turn around. They did but just about too late. I am glad I came out of the fog way before Corinne did. I loved the ending. I was so glad they reunited and found love between each other. I am going to read another one of her books. Looking forward to it.
Date published: 2001-03-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellence in Writing Seldom have I felt so much a part of the story as I did with the Mulvaney family. Despite the lengthy prose throughout I felt Joyce Carol Oates wrote from her heart to make the reader feel a part of the story. This book takes us on one family's journey through life and shows the reader how one decision made by Corrine and Mike Mulvaney changed the whole course of their family history. Throughout the story I felt a part of each family member's sadness and joy. I found myself rooting for Marianne and wanting to throw something at big Mike. A book that evoked so much emotion in my mind is a sign of a truly gifted writer.
Date published: 2001-03-16
Rated 1 out of 5 by from boring This book was extremely boring. I read 2/3 of it and I had to abandon it , the author gave too many details about everything and made the book too long, I`m sure she could have shortened it by at least 100 pages. A complete waste of my time. Too bad because it could have been a very interesting story if only Carol Oates would have made the caracters less depressed.
Date published: 2001-03-13

– More About This Product –

We Were The Mulvaneys

by Joyce Carol Oates

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 1 pages, 9.05 × 6.05 × 1.15 in

Published: January 24, 2001

Publisher: Plume

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0452282829

ISBN - 13: 9780452282827

Read from the Book

We were the Mulvaneys, remember us? You may have thought our family was larger, often I''d meet people who believed we Mulvaneys were a virtual clan, but in fact there were only six of us: my dad who was Michael John Mulvaney, Sr., my mom Corinne, my brothers Mike Jr. and Patrick and my sister Marianne, and me—Judd. From summer 1955 to spring 1980 when my dad and mom were forced to sell the property there were Mulvaneys at High Point Farm, on the High Point Road seven miles north and east of the small city of Mt. Ephraim in upstate New York, in the Chautauqua Valley approximately seventy miles south of Lake Ontario. High Point Farm was a well-known property in the Valley, in time to be designated a historical landmark, and "Mulvaney" was a well-known name. For a long time you envied us, then you pitied us. For a long time you admired us, then you thought Good!—that''s what they deserve. "Too direct, Judd!"—my mother would say, wringing her hands in discomfort. But I believe in uttering the truth, even if it hurts. Particularly if it hurts. For all of my childhood as a Mulvaney I was the baby of the family. To be the baby of such a family is to know you''re the last little caboose of a long roaring train. They loved me so, when they paid any attention to me at all. I was like a creature dazed and blinded by intense, searing light that might suddenly switch off and leave me in darkness. I couldn''t seem to figure out who I was, if I had an actual name, or many
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From the Publisher

A New York Times Notable Book and a former Oprah Book Club® selection

Moving away from the dark tone of her more recent masterpieces, Joyce Carol Oates turns the tale of a family struggling to cope with its fall from grace into a deeply moving and unforgettable account of the vigor of hope and the power of love to prevail over suffering. 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 twenty-five 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. Profoundly cathartic, Oates'' acclaimed novel unfolds as if, in the darkness of the human spirit, she has come upon a source of light at its core. Rarely has a writer made such a startling and inspiring statement about the value of hope and compassion.

About the Author

In addition to many prize-winning and bestselling novels, including We Were the Mulvaneys, Black Water, and Because It Is Bitter and Because It Is My Heart (available in Plume editions), Joyce Carol Oates is the author of a number of works of gothic fiction including Haunted: Tales of the Grotesque (Plume), a 1995 World Fantasy Award nominee; and Zombie (Plume), winner of the 1996 Bram Stoker Award for Best Horror Novel, awarded by the Horror Writers'' Association. In 1994, Oates received the Bram Stoker Lifetime Achievement Award in Horror Fiction. She is the editor of American Gothic Tales and her latest novel is Broke Heart Blues (Dutton). She lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

Editorial Reviews

"It will consume you.” --The Washington Post Book World

“New testimony to Oates'' great intelligence and dead-on imaginative powers. It is a book that will break your heart, heal it, then break it again every time you think about it.” --Los Angeles Times Book Review

“What keeps us coming back to Oates Country is her uncanny gift of making the page a window, with something happening on the other side that we’d swear was like life itself.” --The New York Times Book Review

“A major achievement that stands with Oates’ finest studies of American life...the novel is a testament to the tenacious bonds of the family, the restorative power of love and capacity to endure and prevail.” --The Chicago Tribune

Employee Review

This Oprah pick is an intricate tale of life in upstate New York. Oates creates characters that you love, and ones that you will come to pity immensely. Life is grand for the Mulvaney family until a tragedy befalls one of its members. From here on, things takes a drastic turn and the demise of the family begins. The descriptions of the landscape and area make you feel like you've been there before, and the characters seem like people you know. A great read.

Appropriate for ages: 18 - 18

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