Published September 13th by Plume first published June 5th The Gothic Saga 1. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Bellefleur , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Apr 20, Michael rated it really liked it Shelves: Oates is a modern master of the Gothic novel, and this sprawling, wondrous book really showcases her command of language and how she can push her prose right to the edge of satire while still keeping that Gothic intensity. My only minor complaint is that it's a bit long and meandering in parts, but in truth I really enjoyed it.
To give you a flavor of the book, here's the magnificently over-the-top opening sentence: View all 8 comments.
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Aug 03, Laura J. I love this book! I savored this gothic tale cover to cover and didn't want it to end. It possesses a life of its own, the characters became ghosts that would haunt me after setting it aside after a short reading and I would look forward to picking it up again. After I finished it, I felt homesick in a peculiar way that no book has ever done to me before; it is very likely that I will revisit the pages of Bellefleur again.
Each chapter is an opulent sliver of time that peers into the lives and thoughts of the residents of Bellefleur Manor, an American family of notorious distinction. Their history is rife with joys and sorrows deftly exposed by the astounding craft that is signature in JCO's prolific literary career. The mesmerizing shifts of time, like historical memories, travel from the heights of the imposing Mount Blanc, wind through the decadent rooms of Bellefleur Manor, and plunge into the depths of mysterious Lake Noir where disconcerting spirits dwell.
The fanciful characters endear themselves because of their human vitality and cause despair because of their human flaws; they are very tangible and seductive in spite of the brief glimpses into their lives. This is not a book for the faint of heart for it isn't a serene walk in the walled garden of Bellefleur Manor. JCO reveals the grotesque that exists within the soul of the American dream, and with abrupt grace, she divulges the unforeseen twists of fate that arise with incredible violence that will leave you reeling with astonishment.
It is a unique and contemplative tale, not to be consumed in a few sittings; however, the temptation of the eloquent prose begs to be gorged until the reader is sated. Open this book and open your mind, and give your imagination a workout. If you read this book with a rigid, black and white mind-set you will come away frustrated by it.
I highly recommend this novel to anyone who is looking for something out of the ordinary to read. View all 5 comments. Tantas generaciones, tantas relaciones, tantas vidas e historias perfectamente diferenciadas Sep 11, Kurt Reichenbaugh rated it really liked it Shelves: One of those long reads that most either seem to love or hate. I finished it this summer after picking it up in a yard-sale. I'd only read short stories by Oates before taking this one on. My advice to anyone planning on readng it is to abandon the thought of a linear structure as a novel and take it as delivered; a series of episodes or short stories as chapters of several generations of the Bellefleurs in their castle above Lake Noir.
Forget about timeline, forget about historical perspective. There is love, betrayel, vengeance, madness, magic and mystery, a shapeshifter, a hermit, a murderer and a ghost or two. Yes it's long, but once you give yourself up to it, Bellefleur is pretty good company. Apr 22, Sharyl rated it it was amazing Shelves: I enjoyed this book tremendously. However, Bellefleur is written in a completely different style, and its scope is larger. The characters are intensely real. It's a sensational book! View all 3 comments.
May 26, Jesse rated it really liked it Shelves: An immense tapestry taking in centuries. Literally spanning centuries, seven different generations and involving dozens of distinct characters, this is "The living and the dead. Literally spanning centuries, seven different generations and involving dozens of distinct characters, this is the story of the Bellefleurs, a privileged and moneyed family of the type usually characterized as American aristocracy. But Oates intentionally shatters her story into countless little shards of narrative so that with each chapter—all which function as their own stand-alone vignettes or even short stories—the reader is pulled between vastly different times and characters, with no obvious correlation from one to the next.
At first it's disorienting, but Oates does eventually create the vague impression that the entire thing is indeed operating by its own internal logic and intricately designed rhythms. Frankly, this is a novel to get lost in, and one must be willing to make that decision intentionally. Because it's literally impossible to keep things straight from one page to the next, sometimes even one paragraph to the next—there are many examples of two characters sharing the same name, and this family's history often seems to have a habit of operating on an endless loop.
In this way I was reminded of Oates's own description of another novel that often came to mind while reading Bellefleur: What is mystery becomes irony what is opaque becomes translucent poetry. There are numerous flash-forwards, as well; and a mirroring of characters across generations. And while Oates doesn't quite reach the same heights of feverish ecstasies of her model, she did manage to create countless characters and images and actions in Bellefleur that I won't soon forget.
Which is not to say that I loved this novel unconditionally—several hundred pages in I knew which characters I didn't find very interesting and began to skim the chapters they appeared in, and I really did have to force myself to finish the last pages or so which is a shame, because it really does all lead up to an unexpected and incendiary conclusion.
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And for the most part, I enjoyed it thoroughly. Jun 22, Julie rated it liked it Shelves: I am only a few chapters in, will check back later It took me a long time to read this book. It was nearly pages long, and just not my cup of tea. The reason I picked this book up was because it was listed as a gothic novel.
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There were too many characters to keep up with. I never really got a good read on the main character in the novel and at two or three times I felt the urge to just stop reading this book and pick up another one instead. But, I forced myself t I am only a few chapters in, will check back later It took me a long time to read this book. But, I forced myself to finish it and was really disappointed that I read this whole thing and it ended like it did. I know Joyce Carol Oates is a critically acclaimed author and I have read some of her other novels, but this one I just couldn't get into.
I started reading my first Sookie Stackhouse novel last night, which is, I suppose more my speed, and I had to laugh when when I saw some characters with the last name of Bellefleur! View all 6 comments. If anyone was wondering, the books are not sequential and do not contain the same cast of characters except if a historical figure pops up in more than one which I believe might be the case.
They can be read in any order. Bellefleur tells the story of the Bellefleur family, a prominent and wealthy line who own a large amount of land in the Adirondacks as well as a large mansion. The novel jumps back and forth and tells the stories of six generations of this family, from its lunacy to its failures to its triumphs. This book has supernatural elements to it, but I would not call it a supernatural book. It's more surreal than supernatural, and these elements are very rarely the focus of one of the stories. The biggest strength of this book is the creation of a history.
With six generations, myths and events happen and pass. Due to the non-linear nature of the tale, often an event will get alluded to before the story has been told in the narrative. I don't want to say that this book isn't a page turner because I do not want people to think that I was not excited to see what would happen next, or indeed what had happened before, but it is not a book that is filled with suspense.
It's not a book that one would devour in one sitting and I'm not sure many people could even be able to do that because of its incredible length. It's a leisurely read and one that I enjoyed from start to finish. Feb 26, Dixie Smith rated it it was amazing. This book is a long one, but is classic Joyce Carol Oates style. The story jumps from place to place, from one point in time to another, from character to character, none of it in any particular order.
She describes some things in great detail and while only hinting at others. She doesn't always prescribe to conventional uses of punctuation and will continue a thought for line after line after line, but there is a strong flow to her stories that I find addictive. I enjoyed this book a great deal. It is a really long story, and everything is interrelated but you don't always see it.
I love the flow of the stories it is kind of like a bunch of different short stories together and the way JCO writes. Overall, it's a great book. Sep 04, Anne rated it really liked it. I vividly remember Leah throwing open the door in a rainstorm that wildly blows and soaks her peignoir and lush hair for a cat named Mahalaleel!
I remember a huge drum on the stair landing made from a man's skin. I remember a spinster sister visited my creatures resembling vampires. I remember Mink Pond, debt, despair, the grinding away of love. I remember too many children, too many kittens on an overgrown stone patio. It was sort of like experiencing an opera. Mar 20, Deleted rated it really liked it. Seems to me that you either do or do not like Joyce Carol Oates and your reasons are as varied as the temperaments of her abundant books.
Perhaps no reason is more fitting than poet Michael Chapman's, who liked her because she was always holding a ball-point pen in her cover shots. This was my first Oates adventure and it was a consuming experience.
If you delight in vacationing in exotic books, have a taste for the gothic and other-wordly, then this is a must-read. Jan 19, Katya rated it it was amazing Shelves: This is probably one of my top books of all times. You could call it a saga or an epic, and it is lush, sweeping and fantastic, often blurring the lines between sanity and lunacy, the real and the supernatural. Oates never quite makes the distinction between what is perceived and what is truly there, leaving the reader to decipher the reality of the Bellefleurs through their eyes. This book is long.
This book is wordy. If you don't like intriguing, labyrinthine writing that's a journey into itse This is probably one of my top books of all times.
If you don't like intriguing, labyrinthine writing that's a journey into itself, perhaps you'd be better off sticking with something a little more simple, like Twilight. Bellefleur is a law unto itself and a standard in literature. In my English class junior year, we had a choose an author and write a critical paper about several of their books.
My 8th grade English teacher highly recommended Joyce Carol Oates, so I decided to read some of hers for this paper. Why I chose this tome is beyond me The writing style she adopted for this novel was so long-winded--I'm talking parathetical thoughts that go on for three pages. The time frame of the novel was weird t In my English class junior year, we had a choose an author and write a critical paper about several of their books. The time frame of the novel was weird too--for some characters the novel took place over a couple of months, for others it was decades, and the landscape seemed to change like millenia had passed--which, once I finished reading this, was how much time I felt had passed as well.
Jun 11, Mad Mister Mark rated it it was ok Shelves: To my mind it's like a great byzantine workshop where ol' Joyce trots out lots of ideas that will later become full books in their own right. I recognize so many short stories, so many themes Perhaps this is an ambitious younger writer's attempt at something 'War and Peace'-ish. There are compelling strains of story, characters full of promise, but I just can't find my way th Let me start by saying I'm a HUGE fan of JCO, but this was my second attempt at this book, and I finally just gave up.
There are compelling strains of story, characters full of promise, but I just can't find my way through all those WORDS. There are far too many wonderful books in the world to be read in a single lifetime, and after two attempts, I've decided this will be one for another lifetime. Bellefleur, the mansion, is Bellefleur the family, is Bellefleur the story: It took me the whole summer to read this book, but that was not necessarily because of the length.
Bellefleur by Joyce Carol Oates
Although pages of very tiny print was a lot to get through, definitely. Rather, I tried only to read this book when I was not distracted or rushed, which means I put it away for weeks at a time when my young stepson was visiting. The reason I gave this book such hallowed treatment is because Oates is writing in very heightened prose here, and it definitely keeps you on your toes.
Some of her It took me the whole summer to read this book, but that was not necessarily because of the length. Some of her sentences stretch on forever, but they never feel stilted or forced, just languorous. My disjointed reading of this book was aided by the fact that each chapter is on a totally different theme. Some recount a particular event, some quickly sketch the life story of a minor family member we haven't heard much about, while others enumerate one type of possession among all the family members through all the generations.
For instance, the chapters called "Horses" and "Automobiles. Stoughton, uttered out of that special reservoir of wisdom that is yours, both as a consequence of your profession in life, and your maleness: America as viewed through the prismatic lens of its most popular genres. Then bear her to the greenwood, and build for her a bower, And give her what she asketh, jewel or bird, or flower— And bring the fife, and trumpet, and beat upon the drum— And bid the world Goodmorrow, and go to glory home!
There has been for many decades now a kind of obverse prejudice that a realistic novel ends unhappily, that marriage is disastrous, and maybe that society bears it out. I know I really am very Romantic, and idealistic, and often sentimental. So when attacking the genre of a Romance specifically and trying to revitalize some of the old traits of plot and characterization, I think I was really giving way to a sense that maybe today we do need to revitalize Romance.
Images may not be reproduced without permission of Joyce Carol Oates. Frequent quotations in this volume, particularly of verse, are liberally drawn from the excellent books assembled by Mrs. Martyn and Miss Bates, to whose literary labors, and bounties, I am very much in debt. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email.