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Expensive People by OATES JOYCE CAROL
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Expensive People (original 1968; edition 1992)

by OATES JOYCE CAROL

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472931,736 (3.6)16
Member:thebookdweeb
Title:Expensive People
Authors:OATES JOYCE CAROL
Info:QUALITY PAPERBACK BOOK CLUB (1992), Paperback
Collections:Your library
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Tags:murder, mothers and sons, disturbed boys

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Expensive People by Joyce Carol Oates (1968)

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» See also 16 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
I wouldn't say that I particularly liked or disliked this book, I found it more interesting than anything else. It's very postmodern--having a short story in the middle of the novel, that kind of thing. I would rather this book tell me the story in a more straight-forward way. At times the book seems like an exercise in intelligence for the author. ( )
  danlai | Sep 1, 2014 |
I must really love tragic tales about messed up people. I wonder if this reflects on me at all? This book is one of Oates earlier works and is part of the Wonderland Quartet. The quartet is a group of individual novels with an underlying common theme. These books explore social class by delving deep into a character growing up in America. Sounds like many books you've heard of? Well this is done by Oates and with each book my awe of her writing and stories grows. She understands that humans are not perfect but that society tries to bend us a certain way (especially Americans).

What made me put this in one of my favorites was her unique way on conveying the character. She writes this as a memoir and the way she does it isn't necessarily convincing but enchanting? It's hard to describe. One of my favorite parts of the book was when she had Richard writing fake reviews for his fake memoir. This had me laughing, which isn't my usual reaction to anything I've read by her yet. She calls out every reviewer, imitates their style and then mocks them completely showing us how complete shit reviews can be (especially the ones selected for book jackets). This was such a small and insignificant part of the book but also develops the character in such a creative way. Richard stops to comment on his own work, explain something or even add which made him even more real.

I can't wait to continue on the Quartet but it seems "Them" is not available on ebook anywhere! I guess I'll have to search the libraries or used book stores.

( )
  yougotamber | Aug 22, 2014 |
Excellent book. Nabokov meets Rushmore. This. Oomph is so terrific on so many different levels. It is a work of comic genius, literally laugh out loud stuff. The aesthetics of the writing is unrivaled, almost each sentence stands alone. Lastly it is a work of profound human sentiment. Truly a modern classic that deserves to be read. ( )
  RDHawk6886 | May 15, 2012 |
Interesting book that started a little slow but grew on me and i was very intrigued at the end. An odd expose from the perspective of the child who murdered.....a haunting portrait was created that made me feel blessed for having the great childhood that i had.....another good read from Oates...who intrigues me because her books are all seemingly unrelated....no set pattern or predictability yet to me....and she is rather prolific....have a lot more to go...looking forward to reading some more. ( )
  jeffome | Dec 5, 2010 |
Another gripping novel by Joyce Carol Oates. She is truly a master at building tension, no matter what tone of writing she takes. She paints vivid, well-realized characters in her tale, which kept me guessing until the end. A very worthwhile read! ( )
  thioviolight | Oct 30, 2009 |
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Book description
Expensive, affluent, yes - but morally bankrupt. This is the suburban society from which Joyce Carol Oates carves an electrifying novel of Gothic suspence. Expensive People is the journal of Richard Elwood, an overweight eighteen-year-old, looking back with disaffection at his childhood in a succession of wealthy suburbs. He buys a gun by mail-order ('German Sniper Rifle used by Mad Fanatic SS Men. Limited Number!') and roams the neighbourhood at night...The suspense is terrifying, the writing lethal. The first sentence is guaranteed to rivet your eyes to the page: 'I was a child murderer', Richard begins his memoir. Now read on...
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812976541, Paperback)

Joyce Carol Oates’s Wonderland Quartet comprises four remarkable novels that explore social class in America and the inner lives of young Americans. In Expensive People, Oates takes a provocative and suspenseful look at the roiling secrets of America’s affluent suburbs. Set in the late 1960s, this first-person confession is narrated by Richard Everett, a precocious and obese boy who sees himself as a minor character in the alarming drama unfolding around him.

Fascinated by yet alienated from his attractive, self-absorbed parents and the privileged world they inhabit, Richard incisively analyzes his own mismanaged childhood, his pretentious private schooling, his “successful-executive” father, and his elusive mother. In an act of defiance and desperation, eleven-year-old Richard strikes out in a way that presages the violence of ever-younger Americans in the turbulent decades to come.

A National Book Award finalist, Expensive People is a stunning combination of social satire and gothic horror. “You cannot put this novel away after you have opened it,” said The Detroit News. “This is that kind of book–hypnotic, fascinating, and electrifying.”

Expensive People is the second novel in the Wonderland Quartet. The books that complete this acclaimed series, A Garden of Earthly Delights, them, and Wonderland, are also available from the Modern Library.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:15 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Set in the late 1960s, this first-person confession is narrated by Richard Everett, a precocious and obese boy who sees himself as a minor character in the alarming drama unfolding around him. Fascinated by yet alienated from his attractive, self-absorbed parents and the privileged world they inhabit, Richard incisively analyzes his own mismanaged childhood, his pretentious private schooling, his "successful-executive" father, and his elusive mother. In an act of defiance and desperation, eleven-year-old Richard strikes out in a way that presages the violence of ever-younger Americans in the turbulent decades to come.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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