A Book of American Martyrs by Joyce Carol Oates
A Novel

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This is a hard book to get through, even discounting its length; it’s painful and demanding and sometimes nihilistic, not exactly chicken soup for the ailing American soul. But with its wrath and violence, “A Book of American Martyrs” offers this teaspoon of warmth in these troubled times...
-LA Times

Synopsis

A powerfully resonant and provocative novel from American master and New York Times bestselling author Joyce Carol Oates

In this striking, enormously affecting novel, Joyce Carol Oates tells the story of two very different and yet intimately linked American families. Luther Dunphy is an ardent Evangelical who envisions himself as acting out God’s will when he assassinates an abortion provider in his small Ohio town while Augustus Voorhees, the idealistic but self-regarding doctor who is killed, leaves behind a wife and children scarred and embittered by grief.

In her moving, insightful portrait, Joyce Carol Oates fully inhabits the perspectives of two interwoven families whose destinies are defined by their warring convictions and squarely-but with great empathy-confronts an intractable, abiding rift in American society. 

A Book of American Martyrs is a stunning, timely depiction of an issue hotly debated on a national stage but which makes itself felt most lastingly in communities torn apart by violence and hatred.

 

About Joyce Carol Oates

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Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Medal of Humanities, the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, the Chicago Tribune Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Book Award, and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction, and has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including the national bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys, Blonde, which was nominated for the National Book Award, and the New York Times bestseller The Falls, which won the 2005 Prix Femina. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978.
 
Published February 7, 2017 by Ecco. 752 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for A Book of American Martyrs
All: 4 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 2

NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Robert Schaefer on Apr 24 2017

A Book of American Martyrs is a wonder to read, and as Oates is “a writer’s writer” this book is also fascinating to follow in structure and construction.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Ayana Mathis on Feb 16 2017

In some respects, Oates’s bet pays off...Oates’s lengthy attempt at insights into these lives devolves into dehumanizing caricature.

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LA Times

Above average
Reviewed by Steph Cha on Feb 03 2017

This is a hard book to get through, even discounting its length; it’s painful and demanding and sometimes nihilistic, not exactly chicken soup for the ailing American soul. But with its wrath and violence, “A Book of American Martyrs” offers this teaspoon of warmth in these troubled times...

Read Full Review of A Book of American Martyrs: A... | See more reviews from LA Times

Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Erica Wagner on Jun 11 2017

Again and again it is as if Oates cannot quite bring herself to see that however disadvantaged Dawn Dunphy has been in her youth, there is a full human being behind her eyes, behind her fists; for all the novel strives for even-handedness it cannot, finally, avoid condescension, particularly in its final pages.

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