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The Resource A widow's story : a memoir, Joyce Carol Oates

A widow's story : a memoir, Joyce Carol Oates

Label
A widow's story : a memoir
Title
A widow's story
Title remainder
a memoir
Statement of responsibility
Joyce Carol Oates
Title variation
widows story
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
Joyce Carol Oates shares her struggle to comprehend a life absent of the partnership that had sustained and defined her for nearly half a century
Tone
Writing style
Review
  • Early one morning in February 2008, Oates drove her husband, Raymond Smith, to the Princeton Medical Center where he was admitted with pneumonia. There, he developed a virulent opportunistic infection and died just one week later. Suddenly and unexpectedly alone, Oates staggered through her days and nights trying desperately just to survive Smith's death and the terrifying loneliness that his death brought. In her typically probing fashion, Oates navigates her way through the choppy waters of widowhood, at first refusing to accept her new identity as a widow. She wonders if there is a perspective from which the widow's grief is sheer vanity, this pretense that one's loss is so very special that there has never been a loss quite like it. In the end, Oates finds meaning, much like many of Tolstoy's characters, in the small acts that make up and sustain ordinary life. When she finds an earring she thought she'd lost in a garbage can that raccoons have overturned, she reflects, "If I have lost the meaning of my life, and the love of my life, I might still find small treasured things amid the spilled and pilfered trash." At times overly self-conscious, Oates nevertheless shines a bright light in every corner in her soul-searing memoir of widowhood. (Feb.) --Staff (Reviewed December 20, 2010) (Publishers Weekly, vol 257, issue 50, p)
  • Like Joan Didion, another well-known author who wrote about her husband's death (The Year of Magical Thinking ), Oates, referring to herself here as Joyce Smith, shares with us the sudden and unexpected demise of her husband, Raymond Smith, editor of the Ontario Review , which he founded with Oates in 1974. The two were married for 48 years. Oates recounts her husband's fatal bout of pneumonia and the arduous aftermath: dealing with death duties, the terror of aloneness, the sleeplessness, the thoughts of suicide. She gets help from friends and from medication, but it takes her months before she can face and accept being on her own. VERDICT This book is beautifully written and very affecting. Oates is honest and forthcoming about her fears, dazed state, and outer mien vs. inner terror. Readers will become emotionally involved then feel relief when Oates is finally able to move on. A worthy purchase that will be appreciated by readers of memoir generally and older readers especially.— Gina Kaiser, Univ. of the Sciences Lib., Philadelphia --Gina Kaiser (Reviewed October 15, 2010) (Library Journal, vol 135, issue 17, p76)
  • (The following is a combined review for A WIDOW&#39 and S STORY)A wildly unhinged, deeply intimate look at the eminent author's "derangement of Widowhood." Oates's husband, Ontario Review co-founder Raymond J. Smith, a 78-year-old man in good health, was not supposed to die. In early 2008, he was admitted to the emergency room near their home in Princeton, N.J., and diagnosed with pneumonia. Then he developed complications from an bacterial infection and died of cardiac arrest on Feb. 18, 2008. The shock of losing her husband of 48 years nearly unraveled this author of countless novels, stories and essays, as well as a longtime professor of English at Princeton. In this surreal, nearly hallucinatory journey—she was referred to the Yellow Pages for a funeral home, soon became hooked on tranquilizers to overcome insomnia and often imagined a fiendish creature she calls a basilisk jeering at her—the author chronicles the painful first months of grief and emotional paralysis. Oates (Sourland, 2010, etc.) is a master at creating the interior-driven narrative, and fashions from her experience the character of the Widow—Mrs. Smith—distraught, vulnerable, helpless without the guidance of wise friends, susceptible to crippling regrets, prone to childish self-pity and even erupting in anger at a doctor who suggested that Ray just "gave up." She also invents the character of "JCO," the professor whom she had to "impersonate" at the university, the public self, the co-editor of the Ontario Review who had to inform their readers and writers that the literary review had to cease publication. Oates writes with gut-wrenching honesty and spares no one in ripping the illusions off the face of death—the relentless senders of "sympathy gift baskets" clotting her home like "party food," her husband who "threw away both our lives with [his] carelessness contracting a cold" and the friends and acquaintances who mouthed wooden responses. Oates continues to keep her readers guessing at her next thrilling effort.(Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 2010)
Biography type
autobiography
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
379744
Cataloging source
UPZ
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1938-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Oates, Joyce Carol
Dewey number
  • 813/.54
  • B
Index
no index present
Literary form
non fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Oates, Joyce Carol
  • Smith, Raymond
  • Oates, Joyce Carol
  • Widows
  • Loss (Psychology)
  • Bereavement
  • Husband and wife
  • Authors, American
  • American authors
  • Widows
  • Loss (Psychology)
  • Bereavement
Label
A widow's story : a memoir, Joyce Carol Oates
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
800456
Dimensions
cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
pages
Isbn
9780062015532
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780062015532
  • (OCoLC)693785944
Label
A widow's story : a memoir, Joyce Carol Oates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
800456
Dimensions
cm
Edition
First edition.
Extent
pages
Isbn
9780062015532
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780062015532
  • (OCoLC)693785944

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