Joyce Carol Oates Joyce Carol


Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates has to be one of the oddest, and most engaging, people in the literary world. I have read many of her novels with great interest, repugnance, revulsion, fascination. She is an example of someone to whom language means a great deal. I happened across this little snippet from an article about her new book.

Why, I ask, did Jonathan Franzen, author of The Corrections, refuse to have his book recommended by Oprah? "Well, he ultimately apologised to Oprah, but she wouldn't accept his apology because she was wounded in her pride." She pauses. "It was also a gender thing, because I think that Jonathan Franzen perceives the Oprah book readers as mainly women, and he would prefer a male readership." This softly delivered grenade hangs deliciously in the air for a second, then evaporates.

I love the way she very gently identifies some, not all, of Franzen's problem. I think Franzen himself probably served as the model for Chip in his book. At least his behavior much resembled what one might expect from Chip--eternally stranded in his own intellectual vanity, eternally adolescent, eternally irresponsible and unable to come to terms with it.

Anyway, in all of my encounters with Ms. Oates, she has been a true lady in manners and courtesy, and a truly intriguing speaker. Long may she write for us.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on August 21, 2002 8:33 AM.

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