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Joyce Carol Oates

Is she the most prolific writer out there?

And why hasn't she won the Nobel Prize? Or even the Pulitzer?

by Anonymousreply 3803/08/2013

She's the Jennifer Aniston of literature. Overwrought, overexposed, overwritten, and needs to just be over.

by Anonymousreply 105/02/2012

There was an unfortunate incident with her last year.

by Anonymousreply 205/02/2012

I'm fascinated by her as a person, even as I'm kind of repulsed by her books. She seems so frail and demure, but her books are completely the opposite -- violent, anguished, filled with insanity. I've enjoyed some of her more accessible works (them, We Were the Mulvaneys, Missing Mom) but many of the rest seem so tortured.

I recently read her book about being widowed and her marriage really did seem to be very happy and fulfilling...yet her husband read almost none of her fiction. I was shocked when she remarried so soon after his death, and she's dedicated her latest novel to her new husband, calling him her "first reader." (A slap at Husband #1?)

I don't think she'll ever win the Pulitzer at this point; seems like she's now considered "old school." The Nobel is still a possibility, but I seem to recall reading somewhere that (despite her name being predicted every year) she's never really been considered a frontrunner by committees in the past.

by Anonymousreply 305/02/2012

Prolific is not the same as good. They do not give out Nobel Prizes and Pulitzers based on page count.

And I agree with R1. I read the Mulvaneys, and felt it to be just a short step above Jodi Picoult in quality.

by Anonymousreply 405/02/2012

"...why hasn't she won the Nobel Prize? Or even the Pulitzer?"

Quality, not quantity, dear.

by Anonymousreply 505/02/2012

Someone told me she'll never win the Nobel because she's too prolific for any of the judges to read her body of work. I don't know if she's written a novel in recent decades that would merit the Pulitzer Prize (though she was a finalist for her Marilyn Monroe novel). "them" may be the closest she came (didn't she get a National Book Award?)

I wondered if her widow memoir might win the Pulitzer, but the Pulitzer committee rarely seems to give the top prize to a memoir--and Joan Didion's superior (in my opinion) "The Year of Magical Thinking," a similar kind of book, was a finalist just a few years before.

JCO has received plenty of plaudits over the years, but I do think her productivity is probably a mark against her--and may also genuinely have kept her from producing genuinely first-rate writing.

by Anonymousreply 605/02/2012

[quote]I wondered if her widow memoir might win the Pulitzer, but the Pulitzer committee rarely seems to give the top prize to a memoir--and Joan Didion's superior (in my opinion) "The Year of Magical Thinking," a similar kind of book, was a finalist just a few years before.

Joan wasn't a finalist, she won that year.

As to why JCO doesn't have one, I think someone on the DL years ago said that whenever the Nobel is announced, she spends the morning getting ready to appear on camera, and then when they announce that it isn't she, she just sits there staring into the mirror with the lipstick going around and around...

by Anonymousreply 705/02/2012

I'm a friend of hers. She lost her husband and remarried 6 months later. She received bad press about that move. I got drunk and dropped a glass of champagne on her tits last year. She's friends with Gloria Vanderbilt and, thus, Anderson. She likes the gays.

by Anonymousreply 805/02/2012

I quite enjoyed JCO's memoir.

But Joan Didion is my absolute favorite writer, they are like night and day.

by Anonymousreply 905/02/2012

"I got drunk and dropped a glass of champagne on her tits last year."

No disrespect intended to JCO, but that line just made me laugh right out loud.

by Anonymousreply 1005/02/2012

Sorry, VoTN, you're wrong. Didion didn't win the Pulitzer for her memoir.

And JCO was skipped over for her widow book as well. (The 2012 winners were announced last month.)

R8, what's she like in person? Intense? Scary-smart? In the widow book she presents herself as being shy, not willing to make waves. She actually makes a joke about the Nobel in that book, saying she that she got a late night call from the press that she'd won and her (first) husband just laughed and said, "You get that call every year. Let's go to bed."

by Anonymousreply 1105/02/2012

[quote]Sorry, VoTN, you're wrong. Didion didn't win the Pulitzer for her memoir.

Ack! You're right. She won the National Book Award for it, and I guess I confused myself.

I'll just slink away sheepishly now.

by Anonymousreply 1205/02/2012

That's okay, VoTN, everyone makes mistakes and your comments on literature and books are almost always right on.

by Anonymousreply 1305/02/2012

R10, she also uses the term " cunt" frequently. Greg Johnson, in Atlanta, is her biographer; he has buckets of information about her. You may know this, she likes wrestling.

by Anonymousreply 1405/02/2012

Why not, OP? Because she is female and an unusual writer with a distinct style (applauded in men; thought "quirky" in women).

Like Angela Carter, like Margaret Atwood.

by Anonymousreply 1505/02/2012

She's an untalented cunt...aka "The Female Philip Roth."

by Anonymousreply 1605/02/2012

There was some literary event she was supposed to present or speak at but she got so addicted a video game in the green room that she refused to go on.

by Anonymousreply 1705/02/2012

LOTS of her books on shelves of Stockholm's libraries

by Anonymousreply 1805/02/2012

R18, her books should be on the shelves of all libraries. Not in people's hands; on the shelves.

by Anonymousreply 1905/02/2012

I read a few short stories and liked them and would like to read more from her. What are her best/most popular works?

by Anonymousreply 2005/02/2012

Her stories, "In the Region of Ice" and "Where Are You Going, Where HaveYou Been," are two of the best short stories of the last fifty years.

by Anonymousreply 2105/02/2012

I loved Foxfire and blonde.

by Anonymousreply 2205/02/2012

I read two of her short story collections so long ago, I just remember liking them-nothing else.

Margaret Atwood, despite being a frosted cunt, is a much better writer. She also writes well across genres (although she's too much of a snob to admit doing it).

The Nobel is worthless since the last decade or so, when it became political.

Orhan Pahmuk--really?

by Anonymousreply 2305/02/2012

what's so cunty about her?

by Anonymousreply 2405/02/2012

Because she is awful.

by Anonymousreply 2505/02/2012

I find the comparison between the two female J's, JCO and Didion, interesting. Both are dark and incredibly morbid, but aside from their penchant for violence, really are as different as night and day in their style (as someone upthread already mentioned). JCO has a very stream of consciousness "pour it all out" way, while I imagine Didion (who doesn't write enough!) sitting in a darkened room, very calculatingly rewriting the same sentence over and over again.

JCO can be hit or miss, but she has her very good (and sometimes great) moments (them, Mulvaneys, Where are you going?) I enjoy her dark view of the world, or at least of upstate NY. "Zombie" was fascinating. I also don't think her prolificacy is necessarily a bad thing: it shows a dedication and passion for her craft, rather than someone just sitting at home living off of their royalties. It does take incredible skill and discipline to successfully see through as many books and stories as she has put out there (many writers can't even finish one or two novels); although, yes, they are of varying quality. She has paid her dues and I find her immensely more readable than the overrated Philip Roth.

by Anonymousreply 2605/02/2012

I love JCO. I think she is tremendously talented and a great writer.

While Didion is certainly skilled and talented, her writing leaves me cold. She's so perfect. There's no mess in her stories, just very orderly stuff.

by Anonymousreply 2705/02/2012

Wrong, r14, she likes boxing, not wrestling. I can't figure out if r13 was bring funny or not.

by Anonymousreply 2805/03/2012

[quote]I got drunk and dropped a glass of champagne on her tits last year.

I hate when that happens.

by Anonymousreply 2905/03/2012

So I should read mulvaneys and them?

What by didion?

by Anonymousreply 3005/03/2012

[quote]What by didion?

"Play It As It Lays" and "The White Album."

by Anonymousreply 3105/03/2012

Wrong, r31. Nobody takes Didion's fiction seriously anymore. Stick to her collections of essays, r30. VOTN only knows about soap operas and science fiction.

by Anonymousreply 3205/03/2012

The works of JCO aren't to be tossed aside lightly.

They should be thrown...with great force.

by Anonymousreply 3305/03/2012

She has written whole volumes of supernatural stuff. I didn't find it very memorable, with the exception of her short story Subway, which can be found in The Dark: New Ghost Stories.

by Anonymousreply 3405/03/2012

Ew, supernatural stuff?? Not interested in that.

R33, your Goon Squad was more gimmick than anything else. And your gay character was a cliche.

by Anonymousreply 3505/03/2012

R33--If you are going to steal, at least attribute correctly. I believe it was D. Parker not J. Egan who wrote that.

by Anonymousreply 3605/03/2012

She has a new book, The Accursed. Getting good reviews. I plan to Kindle it.

by Anonymousreply 3703/08/2013

Orhan Pamuk is a great writer. Read "My Name is Red," "Snow," and "The Museum of Innocence."

The problem with JCO is that she must write about everything--and as a result, her novels become the literary equivalent of the old "Movie of the Week" specials in the 70's and 80's. She has style and intelligence, and certainly knows how to tell a story. However, she has one serious fault.

Most of her work is middlebrow. It's not lowbrow--you would never link her with "50 Shades of Grey" or the nonsense that is written by that "Twilight Person"--but she is no Pamuk, no Roth, no Lahiri, no Ishiguro. The best description is by a friend of mine, who says that "if you are on a beach and don't want to feel that guilty about what you are reading JCO is perfect."

True. And some of her short stories are great. Some. Btw, in the short fiction genre, the masterpiece is not "Where are You Going..." It is "Celebration" and she has never equaled that one in almost 50 years.

by Anonymousreply 3803/08/2013
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