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 BellefleurWuthering Heights ambitiously diffuses its consciousness among several contrasting perspectives its structure is not so complicated as it initially appears, but chronology is fractured, not linear, and certain of its most powerful images require a second reading to be fully comprehended What is mystery becomes irony what is opaque becomes translucent poetry There are numerous flash forwards, as well and a mirroring of characters across generationsReading back over that description of Bront s novel, it seems clear to me that this was exactly the modus operandi behind Oates s own work 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 100 pages or so which is a shame, because it really does all lead up to an unexpected and incendiary conclusion Basically I wanted a leisurely summer read a voluptuous novel crammed with people and events, as Oates herself called it and that s exactly what I got And for the most part, I enjoyed it thoroughlyUncensored Views and Re views The Journal of Joyce Carol Oates 1973 1982 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.
I enjoyed this book tremendously It s a Gothic tale and a family saga that may put one in mind of Marquez s One Hundred Years of Solitude in both tales, reality must be suspended, time skips around, and the endings are similiar However, Bellefleur is written in a completely different style, and its scope is larger The characters are intensely real It s a sensational book I really enjoyed this epic by Joyce Carol Oates, the first of her Gothic Saga novels 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 inthan 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 ssurreal 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.
I am only a few chapters in, will check back laterIt took me a long time to read this book It was nearly 700 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 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 That is something I NEVER do 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 supposemy speed, and I had to laugh when when I saw some characters with the last name of Bellefleur 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 maybe the story sounded interesting from the blurb on the back 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 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.
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.
Bellefleur by Joyce Carol Oates is ranked as one of my most favorite novels of all timeI 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.
So atmospheric 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.