'them' - Joyce Carol Oates

Winner of the National Book Award, 1970

As there often is in Oates’ stories, there’s a lot of violence in this book, and desperation and delusion and it’s quite depressing how the characters never seem to escape their past, how certain events continue to affect their lives long afterwards. Alternating the narrative among the main characters helped keep the story moving and made the characters really take shape even if I didn’t particularly like or sympathise with them much of the time.

If I remember correctly, I heard this book mentioned a few years ago during a discussion of Middlesex, primarily since it’s also partly set in Detroit during the riots, and I'd had it in the back of my mind to read it ever since. It took me quite a while to get through and it’s certainly not uplifting but I’m glad I finally got around to reading it. (3.5/5)

Read my full review here.


    I also read this book this year. You are right, not the "feel good" book of the year, or of 1970, but Oates did an excellent job following each character and how the events of their lives affected their personalities.

    Happy Holidays!