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Night. Sleep. Death. the Stars.
Cover of Night. Sleep. Death. the Stars.
Night. Sleep. Death. the Stars.
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The bonds of family are tested in the wake of a profound tragedy, providing a look at the darker side of our society Night Sleep Death The Stars is a gripping examination of contemporary America through the prism of a family tragedy: when a powerful parent dies, each of his adult children reacts in startling and unexpected ways, and his grieving widow in the most surprising way of all. Stark and penetrating, Joyce Carol Oates's latest novel is a vivid exploration of race, psychological trauma, class warfare, grief, and eventual healing, as well as an intimate family novel in the tradition of the author's bestselling We Were the Mulvaneys.
The bonds of family are tested in the wake of a profound tragedy, providing a look at the darker side of our society Night Sleep Death The Stars is a gripping examination of contemporary America through the prism of a family tragedy: when a powerful parent dies, each of his adult children reacts in startling and unexpected ways, and his grieving widow in the most surprising way of all. Stark and penetrating, Joyce Carol Oates's latest novel is a vivid exploration of race, psychological trauma, class warfare, grief, and eventual healing, as well as an intimate family novel in the tradition of the author's bestselling We Were the Mulvaneys.
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About the Author-
  • Joyce Carol Oates is a novelist, critic, playwright, poet and author of short stories and one of America's most respected literary figures. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including We Were the Mulvaneys and Blonde. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of Humanities at Princeton University and a recipient of the National Book Award and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction.
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  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from March 9, 2020
    Oates’s quintessential examination of grief (after Pursuit) draws on the closing lines of Walt Whitman’s “A Clear Midnight,” which reverberate and reappear throughout this weighty chronicle of a family’s reckoning with the death of a father and husband. John Earle “Whitey” McClaren, the 67-year-old “lynchpin” of a Hudson, N.Y., family, and longtime mayor of a nearby town, is tased, beaten, and suffers a stroke after he intervenes during an incident of police brutality against Azim Murthy, a stranger to Whitey whom he registers as a “dark-skinned young man.” Oates’s dispassionate description of the scene peels back the layers of fear and assumption that led the police to treat Azim and Whitey so brutally, retelling the events from Azim’s point of view. After Whitey dies, Jessalyn, his 61-year old widow, and their five squabbling children struggle to pick up the pieces. While Jessalyn casts about in semi-coherence—“stumbling through the illogic of a primitive philosopher just discovering quasi-paradoxes of being, existence, nothingness and the (limited) capacity of language to express these”—her children fear she is approaching a nervous breakdown. More concerning to them is the presence of Hugo Martinez, a mustachioed 59-year-old poet and their mother’s new suitor, who recites the Whitman poem during an awkward Thanksgiving dinner, and whom they fear will jeopardize their inheritance even as his presence has a life-affirming affect on their mother. With precise, authoritative prose that reads like an inquest written by a poet (“death makes of all that is familiar, unfamiliar”), Oates keep the reader engaged throughout the sprawling narrative. This is a significant and admirable entry in the Oates canon.

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Night. Sleep. Death. the Stars.
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Joyce Carol Oates
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