My Heart Laid Bare by Joyce Carol Oates
(Joyce Carol Oates Book)

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Synopsis

Through a layering of historical events beginning in Colonial times and ending in the 1930s, Joyce Carol Oates has created a new American epic in this sweeping chronicle of the fortunes and misfortunes of a family of enterprising and ingenious confidence artists. "Honor is the subject of my story/ for God is theirs; and the Game, ours." So writes the infamous 19th century con man Abraham Licht in his memoir, My Heart Laid Bare, detailing his personal philosophy and his elaborate, highly profitable deceptions. Like a biblical patriarch, Abraham sees his eternity in his children: Thurston and Harwood, the sons who in emulating their father are led to murder; beautiful Millicent, easily her father's equal in the confidence game, but s he's getting promoted! But nothing goes quite as planned: Leo's mom needs help around the house, there are girls on the baseball team, and Leo has to babysit his pesky little cousin, who won't let Leo alone for a second. Of course, Leo's mean sister Eleanor will be around all summer too. This is supposed to be vacation--is Leo going to have any fun at all? Christine McDonnell lives in Brookline, Massachusetts. Brian Karas lives in Rhinebeck, New York.
 

About Joyce Carol Oates

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Joyce Carol Oates was born in 1938 in Upstate, New York. She attended Syracuse University and graduated as Valedictorian. She then attended University of Wisconsin where she earned an M. A. By the time she was 47 years old, she had published at least that many separate books, including 16 full-length novels and more than a dozen collections of short stories. Some of her works were done under the pseudonym Rosamund Smith. She has also written numerous poems collected in several volumes, at least three plays, many critical essays, and articles and reviews on various subjects while fulfilling her obligations as a professor of English at the University of Windsor, where with her husband Raymond Smith she edited the Ontario Review, which the couple has continued since moving to Princeton in 1978. She has earned a reputation as indubitably one of our most prolific writers and very likely one of our best. Her fiction alone demonstrates considerable variety, ranging from direct naturalism to complex experiments in form. However, what chiefly makes her work her own is a quality of psychological realism, an uncanny ability to bring to the surface an underlying sense of foreboding or a threat of violence that seems to lurk just around the corner from the everyday domestic lives she depicts so realistically. Her first six novels, including Them (1969), which won the National Book Award, express these qualities in varying ways. she is also the recipient of an NEA grant, a Guggenheim fellowship, the PEN/Malamud Lifetime Achievement Award, and the F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Lifetime Achievement in American Literature. Her title Give Me Your Heart made the New York Times Best seller list for 2011.
 
Published June 1, 1998 by Dutton Adult. 420 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Abraham’s duplicitous proclivities are inherited, to varying degrees, by his sons Thurston (an accidental murderer), Harwood (a calculating one who, furthermore, assumes his victim’s identity), and Darian (a gifted musician who will fall in love with his stepmother), as well as their black adopte...

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Publishers Weekly

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The heart is a lonely hunter, and it also is vengeful, untrusting, and cruel, as Oates (The Female of the Species) proves in this fine collection of 10 tightly focused tales about love and its aftermath.

Oct 11 2010 | Read Full Review of My Heart Laid Bare (Joyce Car...

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Racial disharmony from the mid-'50s to mid-'60s propels this tale of the love that binds pk a black man and a white woman in an upstate New York industrial town wracked by violence and murder.

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Dedicated to John Updike, the novel is Updikian in its complexity, and Oates occasionally outdoes the master himself: ""After high school in America, everything's posthumous"";

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Enter Licht's biological son Thurston, engaged to marry a wealthy widow, and his evil brother Harwood, who wants a piece of the action.

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MostlyFiction Book Reviews

The Lance Corporal was asked why would he hurt civilians of his own kind who loved him and the Lance Corporal said Because that is the only way to stop them loving me sir.” Give Me Your Heart, the newest collection of short stories by Joyce Carol Oates, shimmers with violence, actual or imagined.

Jan 17 2011 | Read Full Review of My Heart Laid Bare (Joyce Car...

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