Thursday, July 21, 2011
A Widows Story by Joyce Carol Oates
Many people don`t like Joyce Carol Oates, too dark, too Gothic they would say and they are right, she is dark and she is Gothic but I love her.
Her last major book My Sister, My Love which is apparently not about a really famous child murder case is one of my all time greatest reads, from the disclaimer on the first page to the very last page, it was terrific!
The unexpected death of her husband on whom she was much dependent was not terrific and her sense of loss, bewilderment and grief is heart-breaking yet I would imagine it would resonate with anyone who has experienced a sudden death in the family. What appeared to be a simple illness had killed her husband Raymond Smith within a week.
To say that Joyce Carol floundered would be understating things greatly and yet she works through it all and unconsciously sees the humour in the death industry while struggling with the complexities of a life, where the partner had taken care of all those everyday things so as the wife was freed to write. The hand of friendship and everyday kindness was extended to Joyce Carol in a way that gave her a strength that enabled her to forge a path ahead, even if she often found peoples attempts at comfort rather absurd. She writes so honestly and beautifully about the situation she found herself in, she paints such a vivid picture in your mind with the beautiful words she uses that you can feel her feelings, you can feel the pain, confusion and bewilderment, you feel as if you have almost stepped into her life,the cold of the hospital was chilling,her unawareness of what was actually going on was stunning...I was touched by her sharing of letters she received and by how fragile she seems in everyday life and yet the strength of her writing is amazing and solid as.
A remarkable book, from a remarkable writer. She mentions Joan Didion`s book The Year of Magical Thinking another remarkable memoir of loss, people might find reading about it dark but it happens everyday and books can and do give you great comfort.