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What I Lived For by Joyce Carol Oates
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What I Lived For (1994)

by Joyce Carol Oates

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When I picked this book up at the remainder table at my local book store, I was attracted to it because it was a heavy fat book. I had heard of Joyce Carol Oates but did not know much about her.
I ended up being very satisfied by this book, and it motivated me to read We Were the Mulvaneys.
After living inside the head of Jerome "Corky" Corcoran for several hundred pages, one certainly has a good idea, not only of the facts and events of his life, but also of his emotional makeup. Ample details are provided. Of course everything is ample about Joyce Carol Oates and her output of works. An extra large stack of novels and short stories and other writings. No minimalism here.
I find it intriguing that she worked at the University of Windsor for a period of time. I read an interview done with her at that time. I wonder if the University of Windsor knew what caliber of novelist they had, coming as she did to them at the beginning of a very long career. Almost every other review I have read also confirmed that all of the other readers also felt no boredom despite the extra large output of words both within a single work, but also across a span of reading many works.
Corky has many faults, and I could relate to him because I also feel like there are many responsibilities that I should be taking care of better, but due to a lack of time, and lack of confidence in the results actually working out in the desired way, sometimes I just give up and go for an indulgence of some of my vices. Humanity at its best and at its worst.

Found one other helpful review at:
http://bookworld.typepad.com/book_world/2007/11/what-i-lived-fo.html
1 vote libraryhermit | Mar 14, 2010 |
How does Oates do it? For 600+ pages, she not only crawls into the male psyche, but into an alcoholic male's mind and body, and produces a credible/incredible novel. I admire her workmanship tremendously.
With all that said, I despised the crappy ending. ( )
  DelasColinasNegras | Feb 16, 2009 |
darkly comic, begins in 1959
black & white intermingled by murder

1.94 ( )
  aletheia21 | Feb 16, 2007 |
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Han vilar. Han har färdats. - James Joyce: "Odysseus"
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Till Billy Abrahams, förlagsredaktör och vän
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Gud fick ett dundrande utbrott så att glassplittret yrde.
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A Philistine discovers a social conscience. He is Jerome Corcoran, a real estate millionaire and city councilman who lives for money, food and sex. On his way to work he comes across a suicide, a black woman who was a critic of city hall. Corcoran smells foul play and for once decides to do something about it. By the author of Foxfire.… (more)

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