In twenty-nine provocative essays, Joyce Carol Oates maps the "rough country" that is both the treacherous geographical and psychological terrain of the writers she so cogently analyzes—Flannery O'Connor, Cormac McCarthy, Philip Roth, E. L. Doctorow, and Margaret Atwood, among others—and the emotional terrain of Oates's own life following the unexpected death of her husband, Raymond Smith, after forty-eight years of marriage.
"As literature is a traditional solace to the bereft, so writing about literature can be a solace, as it was to me when the effort of writing fiction seemed beyond me, as if belonging to another lifetime," Oates writes. "Reading and taking notes, especially late at night when I can't sleep, has been the solace, for me, that saying the Rosary or reading The Book of Common Prayer might be for another." The results of those meditations are the essays of In Rough Country—balanced and illuminating investigations that demonstrate an artist working at the top of her form.
About the Author
Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Book Award, the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction, and the National Humanities Medal, our government's highest civilian honor for the arts. 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. In 2003 she received the Commonwealth Award for Distinguished Service in Literature, and in 2006 she received the Chicago Tribune Lifetime Achievement Award. She is the 2010 recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award. Joyce Carol Oates lives in Princeton, New Jersey.
Praise for In Rough Country: Essays and Reviews…
“Oates writes like a woman who walks into rough country and doesn’t look back...long sentences unfold with great beauty, and [Oates’s] line of argument follows not an artificial arc but the natural course of thought.”
-New York Times Book Review