A bright, talented junior at Catamount College in the druggy 1970s, Gillian Brauer strives to realise more than a poet's craft in her workshop with the charismatic, anti-establishment professor Andre Harrow. For Gillian has fallen in love - with Harrow, with his aesthetic sensibility and bohemian lifestyle, with his secluded cottage on Brierly Lane, with the mystique of his imposing, russet-haired French wife, Dorcas. A sculptress, Dorcas has outraged the campus and alumnae with the crude, primitive, larger than life-sized wooden totems that she has exhibited under the motto 'We are beasts and this is our consolation'. As if mesmerized, Gillian enters the rarefied world of the Harrows. She surrenders to their cassoulets, Quaaludes, and intimacies. She is special, even though she knows her classmates Marisa and Sybil and the exotic, mysterious Dominique have preceded her here. She is helpless, she is powerful. And she will learn in full the meaning of Dorcas' provocative motto.
- Hardback | 144 pages
- 139 x 208 x 22mm | 280g
- 20 Mar 2003
- Orion Publishing Co
- London, United Kingdom
Revered in the States, where she has won many awards - and Oprah's approval - Oates has yet to make a real impact in Britain, despite a sequence of much-praised novels, including Blonde, her take on Monroe, and Black Water, which took its cue from Kennedy and Chappaquiddick. This one is set on an American campus in the mid-Seventies, in the long shadow of Vietnam. Gillian Brauer is in thrall to the charismatic and libertarian Professor Andrew Harrow - Andr to favoured students. His wife, Dorcas, is a sculptress whose works - exhibited under the motto 'we are beasts and this is our consolation' - might be described as primitive. Gillian is soon drawn, helpless, into their private world, when the real meaning of the motto becomes all too clear. One for readers of psychological suspense.
About Joyce Carol Oates
Joyce Carol Oates, one of America's most honoured writers, is the author of the New York Times bestseller and Oprah Book Club selection WE WERE THE MULVANEYS, such critically praised novels as BLONDE, BROKE HEART BLUES, BLACK WATER, and MIDDLE AGE. She has won the National Book Award for THEM, as well as the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Princeton, New Jersey.