We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates Online

We Were the Mulvaneys
Title : We Were the Mulvaneys
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780452282827
Language : English
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 454

The Mulvaneys of High Point Farm in Mt. Ephraim, New York, are a large and fortunate clan, blessed with good looks, abundant charisma, and boundless promise. But over the twenty-five year span of this ambitious novel, the Mulvaneys will slide, almost imperceptibly at first, from the pinnacle of happiness, transformed by the vagaries of fate into a scattered collection of lThe Mulvaneys of High Point Farm in Mt. Ephraim, New York, are a large and fortunate clan, blessed with good looks, abundant charisma, and boundless promise. But over the twenty-five year span of this ambitious novel, the Mulvaneys will slide, almost imperceptibly at first, from the pinnacle of happiness, transformed by the vagaries of fate into a scattered collection of lost and lonely souls.It is the youngest son, Judd, now an adult, who attempts to piece together the fragments of the Mulvaneys' former glory, seeking to uncover and understand the secret violation that occasioned the family's tragic downfall. Each of the Mulvaneys endures some form of exile- physical or spiritual - but in the end they find a way to bridge the chasms that have opened up among them, reuniting in the spirit of love and healing.


We Were the Mulvaneys Reviews

  • Paul Bryant

    Six months after the death of Joyce Carol Oates a couple of her fans will visit her grave. Just underneath the keening mournful almost-Canadian wind as they stand by the graveside they will hear to their consternation a little tiptappy scratching noise. From underground. They will run run run to get the caretaker who will get the police who will get the bigger police. They'll all hear the sound. Tippytappy, scritchscratch. They'll hum and haw, and then they'll exhume the body. When they crack op [...]

  • Glenn Sumi

    Okay, I finally GET Joyce Carol OatesThanks to , I stuck with this novel, one of the prolific Joyce Carol Oates’s best-known and –loved books. (Hey, it’s even Oprah Book Club-approved!) Some people on here said it picked up around the 100-page mark, and – wouldn’t you know it? – they were right. I’m glad I listened to y’all. It takes a while for the book to find its way. So many character introductions! So many coy digressions! Do we really need to know about all the family nickn [...]

  • Ted

    Main Review. Warning. This review is almost a spoiler from one end to the other. I would recommend this spoiler not be read if you are considering reading this book for the first time, and particularly if you are ready to start reading quite soon (so you will have no time to forget much of what I relate in the spoiler).(view spoiler)[You still have time to go back! Otherwise proceed to the following at My Writing /story/show/ (hide spoiler)]The next section is REALLY a spoiler, since it tells ho [...]

  • Perry

    Who doesn't desire his father's death?Fyodor Dostoevsky<<2.5 stars>>I want to write a few words about this novel while it's fresh on my mind instead of moving it to the back of my review line. A first point would be that Oates could have shown what she wanted to show--the disintegration of a seemingly typical family--in three-hundred pages instead of four-hundred and fifty plus. Besides its verbosity, the chief problem I had with the novel was that Oates kept trying to make the point [...]

  • Anna

    This book is about a large family, the Mulvaneys, living all happily and blahblahblah until something terrible happens to the sole daughter. Although the book is basically about this event and the aftermath, it takes about 100 pages to actually get to the plot. The beginning of the book goes on about the Mulvaneys and how wonderful they were, describing their house and its inhabitants with a little too much detail. Most chapters had this basic formula: Narraration of some memory a character had/ [...]

  • Sandra

    “Quali sono le parole giuste per riassumere una vita, tanta affollata confusa felicità che si conclude con un atroce dolore al rallentatore?” si domanda il narratore del romanzo. La Oates le ha trovate alla grande le parole, il fatto è che, secondo me, ha esagerato. Un romanzo fiume, di circa 500 pagine, che inizia con la descrizione di una famiglia americana perfetta, i Mulvaney, una moglie e madre vivace ed allegra, un marito ambizioso e quattro splendidi figli, più una miriade di anima [...]

  • Robin

    The Mulvaneys: Gold Medal Winners for Bad ParentingI've read reviews by those who think this book is "what happens when a horrible event poisons a happy family" or something similar to that. Uh uh. Not quite. This book is all that, PLUS two ferociously bad parents, who stick to their ferociously bad parenting, and learn nothing, all through their journey.(Forgive me if this review sounds catty, I'm still kinda pissed off.)The Mulvaneys start off well. Michael Sr is so good looking his vivacious [...]

  • Clare

    I really needed Joyce Carol Oates to give me a break on this one. I was still reeling from the horrible experience I had of accidentally reading part of "Zombie" but I was prepared to try to forgive her. But even though no one in this book gave anyone else an ice-pick lobotomy, it was entirely devoid of any heart, hope, or mercy. I just don't need this in my life - there's nothing about this book stylistically that elevates it above its oppressively miserable story.

  • Sammy

    By the end of this book I was crying. I just want to start with that and get it cleared out of the way. It wasn't just a sniff and the threat of tears, I had actual tears running down my face and snot streaming out of my nose. I was leaking enough that I actually had to put the book down and go grab some tissues.This book is very emotional, not just with how it makes the reader feel, but with how it's written. There was something unique about Oates writing that reflected a purely emotional conne [...]

  • Saffron

    5 "This hurts" Stars!!!!

  • Stepheny

    Warning! Warning! Potential spoilers contained in this rant-filled review!We Were the Mulvaneys is probably JCO’s most known novel. I can’t for the life of me understand why. I will be the first to tell you what a JCO enthusiast I am, yet before reading this I had never read a single novel of hers. I had read and loved her short stories as if they were written for my eyes only and I cherished them as such. I still do…more so now after having read this book.This book is…mething.I guess a [...]

  • Fabian

    4 Reasons "We Were the Mulvaneys" was a true and deep disappointment:1) I had already given J.C.O.s my full endorsement after reading "Zombie", a speedier version of "American Psycho" and "The Tattooed Girl", also a speedy version, this time of something long and droll by the likes of Roth. This is a sad disaster. I take everything I said about her back and now I realize why some people stopped being fans altogether.2) Speaking of speed- this "family saga", which is more like some episode in a l [...]

  • Jenna

    I was just nearly through writing a review of this, and crashed and I lost it! We Were a Review of We Were the Mulvaneys. :-(

  • Nood-Lesse

    L’orgoglio precede la cadutaAbbandonatevi a J.C. Oates, lasciate vi porti a spasso dagli anni ‘30 agli ’80 e che decida lei quando fare un’anticipazione, indugiare su una descrizione o sulla genesi di un soprannome. Fidatevi, chiudete gli occhi e vedrete i vostri genitori, i vostri fratelli La famiglia è il nastro di Moebius della società, la sua superficie è infinitamente percorribile.Bel romanzo, ci sono stati momenti di coinvolgimento estremo:“Puoi avere un solo figlio miracoloso [...]

  • Ann

    This book made me furious. I'm temporarily living in Princeton, and I told my housemate I'd like to track down JCO and throw it on her lawn.After 400 pages of unremitting misery, suddenly everything turns sunny again and there's a happy ending. JeezI think the term for this is "deus ex machina." The "machina(s)" ("machinae") for these five main characters were:1. bidding on items at auctions2. a motorcyle3. a drunk's last request4. unclear5. the Marine CorpsThe Chicago Tribune characterized this [...]

  • Jason

    Confession. I have a peculiar interest in stories that most people consider depressing. I like to observe how people fail. I enjoy watching an author destroy families. Poor decisions, personal flaws, bad luck, awful timing--I don't care what causes it, just as long as the characters unravel, sucking faster clockwise down the toilet. Let me be clear: in real life I don't wish bad things to happen. But, there's a lot of human suffering in the world, and I find that subject more interesting than fi [...]

  • Lisa

    This is a story of how one terrible incident poisons and disintegrates a 'perfect' family.The Mulvaneys live on a farm in New York - there is Mum, Dad, Mike (eldest son), Patrick, Marianne, Judd (youngest son) and a myriad of animals.The story is told by Judd (he is now a journalist) over 25 years but it is not his personal story - more an exploration of each of the members of his family. Be warned - this is not an easy read!The subject matter is emotionally antagonistic and it is PAINFULLY slow [...]

  • Lisa

    I read this book probably 10 years ago, but it has stayed with me. That's because this book made me strongly feel quite a range of negative emotions. I finished this book on a plane, and I was so burnt up after reading it that I left it on my seat in a huff. (In fact this is the book I refer to in this review: /review/show). I thought this book was way too long, especially the first few hundred pages. It took forever to get the story off the ground. It was painfully slow and depressing. And at t [...]

  • Jasmine

    2.5 stars. This has only been my third contemporary author on my To-Read list this year and, unfortunately, my first literary disappointment as well. With regard to contemporary authors, I have admittedly been spoiled in 2016 by Alan Hollinghurt’s and Colm Toibin’s skilled penmanship, and it might have been a mistake to expect Joyce Carol Oates’ prose to be in the same league with these great British and Irish authors. Alas, my first Oates was not my cup of tea: Overwritten, with a storyli [...]

  • Marco Tamborrino

    Ci fu un momento di silenzio tra noi. Capivo che non dovevo parlare, dire una parola. Come avessimo vissuto così, a nostro agio l'uno con l'altro, per i quattordici anni in cui ci eravamo persi.We were the Mulvaneys è la storia della società americana che caratterizzava una certa epoca, ma prima ancora è la storia di una famiglia perfetta che subisce un colpo, la perfezione s'incrina, tocca terra, e poi si spezza. E cosa succede a una famiglia perfetta che si spezza? Tenta di ricomporsi? Pu [...]

  • Rebecca McNutt

    I wasn't expecting We Were the Mulvaneys to be so dramatic and mysterious, but once you start reading it, it's impossible to put down. Some of the characters were rather unrealistic at times but otherwise I really enjoyed this book.

  • Grant

    i didn't like it much. i am a big fan of her stories. it opened well, but once the event happens, which the books turns on, it falls apart and i lost interest in the characters. i think there are novels that should be long stories. its because the theme is great, but the plot, the characters, the story do not need the length of a novel to develop. and instead do not stand under the weight of that much scrutiny. i liked the movie brokeback mountain by proulx [sic], but her short story was a lot b [...]

  • Liza Miller

    Oh you guys, where to begin with this one? JCO really brings out the feels on this one, and a lot of them are really unpleasant. Some of them, especially in the beginning, are wonderful. I fell in love with the Mulvaneys early on. They're charming and seemingly perfect, a mix of jokesters (Mike, Jr.), needling nerds (Pinch!) and batty kooks (I wanted Corinne to adopt me the first time I read this). Even Marianne, the devout, kind (and, yes, kind of sanctimonious) daughter, is the kind of girl yo [...]

  • Kevin Kelly

    First an admission of how I read this book. I happened to find it in a thrift store for 99 cents, and I read it daily on my bus trip to and from work. Reading it daily, but only a few pages at a time may or may not have colored the way I view it.If you are looking for a quick read, full of action, plot and intrigue, this is not the book for you. But if you are looking for a writer at the top of her game, taking the time to set her story in intricate, though necessary, settings of place, plot, ch [...]

  • Sherry

    Be warned that just about everything in this review will give something away.I would have given this four stars, but I just couldn't. I was too aware of Oates manipulating her poor characters, and I just couldn't believe the basic premise. There is a wonderful, close, warm family and the daughter, too-good-to-be-true Christian is brutally raped, but refuses to press charges. This is taking turn the other cheek a bit far, in my opinion. The rest of the book tells how that action--that supposedly [...]

  • Angela

    I love this book, for the same reason other people dislike it, and can't seem to finish it. I am surprised by all of the people who say that the father's reaction to the girl after she is raped "doesn't make sense". They don't seem to be aware that his reaction is typical of a man's reaction in such a situation, when a woman or girl he loves, and feels he should have been able to protect, has been violated by rape, she becomes a symbol to him of his failure as a man, to protect that which he mos [...]

  • Britany

    1976. A Valentine's Day dance that goes terribly wrong. Starts with a ripped dress that ends up ripping the Mulvaney family apart. While the writing was beautiful, and tragic all wrapped together, I found this one hard to get through and harder to pick up and finish. The book was so depressing and just seemed to keep spiraling further and further downward. I was so angry with the way that this seemingly perfect, all- American family handled the situation that tears them apart. It wasn't until th [...]

  • Jessica

    This book starts off slowly, with sweeping descriptions of the landscape and the perfection of the Mulvaney family's idyllic life on their farm in upstate New York. It picks up, though, and the real story begins as the family's perfect facade is destroyed. Essentially, this is the story of how a single event, and our reactions to it, can shape our entire lives. The lone Mulvaney daughter, Marianne, is raped following her junior prom. The attacker is never brought to justice and the shame surroun [...]

  • Julie

    I have seen this movie on TV several times and finally found the book at the library. I was suprised at how long it wasarly 500 pagesbut I was excited to finally be reading it. In this novel, Oates tells the story of a near-perfect familym and dad in love, 4 loving siblings, all living in a small town on a farm filled with love and animals. Everything is going along fine until the only daughter, who is beautiful and universally loved, suffers a tragedy. From this point on, the entire family dyna [...]

  • Christy Hart

    I haven't read much by Oates and had heard alot about this one. Unfortunately, I didn't know the story line. But, when she started referring to "it" happening, I was extremely curious. But, the "it" is a date rape of a teenager. I almost threw the book across the roome same feeling I had the prior week with Jodi Picoult's The Tenth Circle because it also deals with a teenage rape.I am biased about this, I will admit. But two books in one week about rape? I finished neither book.I will read jacke [...]