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A Widow's Story: A Memoir [Format Kindle]

Joyce Carol Oates
4.5 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

“As much a portrait of a unique marriage as a chronicle of grief...immensely moving…“ (People)

“In a narrative as searing as the best of her fiction, Oates describes the aftermath of her husband Ray’s unexpected death from pneumonia…It’s the painful, scorchingly angry journey of a woman struggling to live in a house “from which meaning has departed, like air leaking from a balloon.” (Entertainment Weekly)

“Joyce Carol Oates’s new memoir, A Widow’s Story, is a naked confession about the messy relation of art to life…A Widow’s Story, while about life after the death of a husband, is also about the intense inner life of a female genius…” (Elle)

“…A cascade-of-consciousness that will mostly mesmerize you and surely move you…a book more painfully self-revelatory than anything Oates the fiction writer or critic has ever dared to produce.” (New York Times Book Review)

“…As enthralling as it is painful…a searing account…It is characteristic of Oates’s superb balancing of the intellectual and the emotional that she enables a reader to experience Smith’s death in the dramatic way she herself did.” (Washington Post)

“Flourishes of black humor punctuate the drumbeat of grief, setting the book apart from works such as Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking.” (Wall Street Journal)

“A brave, dark but slyly mordant memoir…Oates rages at the dying of the light of her life in this unflinching, generous portrait of the terror of emptiness.” (National Public Radio)

“The novelist and essayist pens her most intimate book about the death of her husband of 46 years. Judging by the excerpt in The New Yorker Oates’ memoir will join Antonia Fraser and Joan Didion on the shelf of essential works on loss.” (Daily Beast)

“Oates’ raw emotion lifts the veil of the enormity of grief that most widows, and widowers, must feel at the loss of their partners in a way that will come as a shock to some and a relief to others.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

“A Widow’s Story is unlike anything Oates has written before…a poignant and raw examination of the obsessiveness and self-indulgence of grief…” (Denver Post)

“A harrowing tale…” (Detroit News)

“…Astonishingly candid…[Oates’s] suffering gushes forth in page after page of detailed prose, snatches of sentences, reportorial and intuitive, emotional and reflective…Oates set out to write a widow’s handbook. What she has accomplished is a story of a marriage.” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

“Reads like a rending of garments…” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

“A vivid and urgent memoir…” (Dallas Morning News)

“Oates writes movingly about the terror, depression and suicidal ruminations that dominated her existence in the months after Smith’s death…it’s impossible to be unmoved by Oates’ “Story,” by the degree to which she sees her husband everywhere she looks, as she finds beauty in the elusive notion of renewal.” (Kansas City Star)

“This is a brave, haunting, heart-rending book, and it will never let you go.” (Providence Journal)

“Affecting…perfectly pitched prose…” (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

“Joyce Carol Oates writes like a force of nature, and a story emerges, as if organically, from the physicality of her grief. There are few secrets and no lies, only insights into the inner world of her partner of 50 years.” (Financial Times)

“Widowhood for Oates is a rough, disfiguring condition, one that mocks past happiness. Words are her salvation. “A Widow’s Story” is a brave book that carries its author through the contortions of doubt and despair, on a pilgrimage back to life.” (Charleston Post & Courier)

“Packed with moments of…frankness…” (Seattle Weekly)

“An affecting portrait of anguish.” (The Economist)

“Astonishing…revelatory…[A Widow’s Story] is remarkable…for how candidly Oates explores the writer’s secret life: the private world of her marriage, which…she asserts is far truer and more real, and of far greater importance, than any of her imaginary creations.” (Book Forum)

“Oates excellently conveys the disconnect between the inwardly chaotic self and the outwardly functioning person…” (New York Review of Books)

“[Oates] shines a bright light in every corner in her soul-searing memoir of widowhood.” (Publishers Weekly)

“A wildly unhinged, deeply intimate look at the eminent author’s “derangement of Widowhood.”...Oates writes with gut-wrenching honesty and spares no one in ripping the illusions off the face of death...Oates continues to keep her readers guessing at her next thrilling effort.” (Kirkus)

“As a writer, heightened emotion is the essential ingredient in [Oates’] work…As A Widow’s Story progresses, it becomes [Raymond Smith’s] story--both an homage to a decent, intensely private man, and Oates’ way of keeping him in memory as she probes his most closely guarded self.” (Seattle Times)

Présentation de l'éditeur

Unlike anything Joyce Carol Oates has written before, A Widow’s Story is the universally acclaimed author’s poignant, intimate memoir about the unexpected death of Raymond Smith, her husband of forty-six years, and its wrenching, surprising aftermath. A recent recipient of National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, Oates, whose novels (Blonde, The Gravedigger’s Daughter, Little Bird of Heaven, etc.) rank among the very finest in contemporary American fiction, offers an achingly personal story of love and loss. A Widow’s Story is a literary memoir on a par with The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion and Calvin Trillin’s About Alice.

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Commentaires en ligne

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Commentaires client les plus utiles
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Emouvant sans être larmoyant 6 décembre 2012
Par odile
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Ce qui aurait pu être l'étalage de la misère morale de l'auteur, confrontée à un veuvage brutal, devient une étude remarquable de son propre comportement et de la façon - très personnelle, mais étonnamment aboutie -, dont elle fait front et gère ce moment effroyable de sa vie. Aucun apitoiement superflu, aucune complaisance, une analyse fine et fouillée, susceptible d'inspirer celles et ceux auxquels pareille épreuve peut arriver. Une pépite à conserver précieusement
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Beaucoup d'émotion. 25 septembre 2013
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Elle a écrit ce que j'aurai écrit si j'avais été écrivain. Mon mari est décédé le 9 Novembre 2012.
Les sentiments, émotions, malaises décrits par Joyce Carol Oats sont les miens.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 3.9 étoiles sur 5  241 commentaires
120 internautes sur 126 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A pilgrimage that illuminates the reality of widowhood 30 janvier 2011
Par Niki Collins-queen, Author - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
Joyce Carol Oates' heart-wrenching memoir "A Widow's Story" is about Raymond Smith, her husband's unexpected death at age 77 after forty-eight years together. Admitted with pneumonia he died within a week from a hospital acquired virulent infection. Part pilgrimage part widow's handbook she illuminates with powerful prose and acute perception the stunning reality of widowhood. The shock, the anguish, the grief, the disorientation, the denial and the guilt amid the nightmare of "death duties." She raises important questions about the legal and medical systems, the absurdities of commercialized forms of mourning and the painful impersonal vocabulary of illness and death. Her distress gives readers the opportunity to think ahead about the 'death duties" before the shock of loss.
At her husband's deathbed in the middle of the night she had to call a friend from the hospital, decide against doing an autopsy and gather his belongings. When, in her haze of confusion, it later dawned on her that her husband may have died a "wrongful death" it was too late, her husband had already been cremated.
Feeling widowhood is the punishment for having been a wife she experiences Rays' death as series of appointments, duties and bills - viewing the body, funeral arrangements, the cremation, buying an urn to bury his ashes, medical bills and insurance, his will and death certificate, automobile titles and insurance, house insurance, IRS documents, banks and other financial statements, passports, social security documents, birth and wedding certificates. All are needed to "probate" her husbands will.
Her last chapter titled "The Widow's Handbook" Joyce says: "Of the widow's countless death-duties there is just one that matters: on the first anniversary of her husband's death the widow should think 'I kept myself alive.' "
She found strength teaching her university students. She said for two lively and absorbing hours she was able to forget her radically altered life. She called it her life line - something she could do that has value. However her biggest solace was taking over her husband's garden and planting it in a new way. She used Ray's gardening gloves and implements and planted hardy perennials, perishable annuals, flowers, including wild flowers, not vegetables. Her resolution to discontinue her anti-depressive came while in the garden. Although she feared addiction she took pills for depression and insomnia and was proud when she discontinued them after six months.
Joyce's vivid depictions made me feel as if I too were in the depths of grief, guilt, depression and despair. She says that she's no longer convinced there's any value in grief and if wisdom springs from the experience it's a wisdom one might do without. I'm glad she didn't follow her own advice. Grieving is natural. This book would not exist if she hadn't allowed herself to grieve.
I appreciated her many glimmers of hope. Feeling a new intimacy with her husband while reading his unfinished novel "Black Mass." She said she knew his daily, domestic, social selves but not his imagination. It was like being inside his head. Something she didn't have while Ray was alive.
At the end of her book she talks about three small "sightings:" Feeling Rays' presence in the garden, sleeping without aide and finding lost earrings among the garbage. She wrote, "If I have lost the meaning of my life, and the love of life, I might still find small treasured things amid the spilled and pilfered trash."
My only criticism of Joyce's book is that it is too dark, long and repetitive. She's clearly in the process of finding a new normal. I hope for her sake that it's filled with more self forgiveness and acceptance, love, joy, peace and gratitude.
159 internautes sur 179 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Moving, self-centered exploration of grief 6 février 2011
Par J. Silva - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
It's impossible to adequately review this memoir without comparing it to its bestselling predecessor in both form and topic, "The Year of Magical Thinking" by Joan Didion. The circumstances of both authors's widowhood are remarkably similar: Oates, a well-known and bestselling author, lost her husband of nearly 50 years, Raymond J. Smith, a respected writer and editor, unexpectedly when a hospital-acquired infection killed him; Didion, a well-known and highly successful author and screenwriter, lost her husband of 40 years, John Gregory Donne, also a well known and highly successful author, when he died of cardiac arrest at their dinner table. Both women had had close, work-together-at-home relationships with their husbands. Both writers use the memoir form as a way of exploring, expressing, and understanding their grief and the grief process. Oates's approach, however, unlike Didion's, is intensely focused on herself, her understandable grief, but also her feeling of helplessness and hysteria, her near-constant suicidal ideation, her rethinking of her marital relationship, and, finally, her way of finding help through her grief by taking over the everyday, ordinary household obligations that she had left to her husband for 48 years.

Initial disclaimer: I enjoy reading Oates's non-fiction essays and reviews, and occasionally her short stories, but am decidedly not a fan of her longer fiction, which I find bizarre, dark, and violent. I was drawn to this book, however, by the excerpt published several weeks ago in The New Yorker, and I still find the opening scene, which was included in that excerpt, to be stunning. In it, we learn much about Oates and her situation: she has come from visiting her husband at the hospital, where she continues to be baffled both by his treatment for pneumonia and the hospital atmosphere. She returns to her car to find that she has parked it askew, tires well over the white line in the street -- her upset and burgeoning hysteria resulted in an unfocused drive to the hospital and a botched parking job. She sees something under the windshield wiper, and, relieved to find that it isn't a parking ticket, she reads the scrawled note: "Learn to park stuppid bitch." Oates comments at this point that her "situation, however unhappy, despairing or fraught with anxiety, doesn't give her the right to overstep the boundaries of others," and we find as the memoir develops that this is a pattern of her grief: helpless and hapless, internalized, hysterical, while insistent on maintaining the privacy of her grief and on showing her best side to the world.

Throughout the memoir, Oates refers to herself primarily in the first person but also, frequently, in the third person as "the widow," as in this passage: "What the widow must remember: her husband's death did not happen to her but to her husband. I have no right to appropriate Ray's death." Oates searches for the "meaning" of grief, the reasons why she feels ill, has heart palpitations, has intractable insomnia. Her fears of being alone in the unusual, glass-walled house she and Raymond Smith shared, with its "ghosts" around every corner and outside every window, are only surpassed by her unease being away from the house, which she says she "yearns" for whenever she leaves. Oates's grief is internalized and compartmentalized when she leaves her home to continue teaching and lecturing, keeping commitments she had made months and years before. When she is at home alone, her grief is all-encompassing, sadness and regret mixed with rage, but also self-indulgent and, as she says in the memoir, bordering on insanity. She spends many of her wakeful dark hours counting out a collection of medications and sleeping aids to use in a suicide attempt, an attempt she researches but ultimately decides against. Oates says that her "survival" of the first year of widowhood is due to the fact that she is fortunate in her friends -- they guide and chauffeur her through the necessary post-mortem miasma of probate, etc., and are careful to call her, invite her to dinner, and encourage her in what is finally her salvation --learning to take ownership of the numerous aspects of her life that she had ceded to her husband over the years.

Didion's experience of grief was compounded by the serious, continuing, near-fatal illness of her only child, a recently-married daughter, who was hospitalized in a coma at the time of Donne's death. The focus on Quintana, a major character in the memoir, expands the memoir beyond Didion's own, beautifully expressed internal grief, and gives it an other-directed accessibility that Oates's memoir lacks. In the end, Oates is not an attractive widow. Her story is valuable and compelling in many ways, but her distracted, almost willful, helplessness and hysteria are wearying. Everyone has their own way of grieving, certainly. But it's hard to sympathize with someone as determinedly fragile as Oates. Indeed, much about the memoir feels off, and reads like a work designed to sell books.

Ultimately, this reader's inability to sympathize with Oates is confirmed, in a way: barely a year after Smith's death Oates remarried, to a professor colleague at Princeton.

Didion, we know, soldiered on, even enduring the death of her beloved daughter several months after the memoir was finished. Again, different people grieve differently, but Didion's memoir comes across as much more honest, devastated indeed, but also heroic. No one can predict if the reading public will find Oates's book as irresistible as Didion's, but to this reader, the comparison leaves Oates's memoir the lesser work of the two.
47 internautes sur 52 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Reluctant Survivor 2 février 2011
Par Sam Sattler - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
One year and six weeks before her husband's death, Joyce and Raymond were lucky to walk away from an automobile accident that could just as easily have killed both of them. Joyce Carol Oates and her husband, publisher and editor Raymond Smith, would look upon each day after that accident as a gift, bonus time granted them on their time together. That would all change on February 18, 2008, when Oates would so suddenly be thrust into widowhood that she would be left reeling from the shock for months to come.

Joyce and Raymond Smith had been married for forty-seven years, and they expected to be together for a good many more, on the morning Joyce awoke to find her husband feeling poorly. Because she could see that his illness was more severe than he believed it to be, Oates convinced Smith to let her drive him to Princeton Medical Center. There he was admitted with pneumonia, but the couple expected that he would be treated and released in only a few days. Up until the early hours of February 18, when Oates received an urgent phone call from the hospital, that seemed to be exactly what would happen.

Technically, Raymond Smith did not die of pneumonia or its complications. He died, instead, from a secondary infection he picked up inside Princeton Medical Center, and his was a death for which Oates was completely unprepared. One minute she was feeling optimistic about her husband's homecoming; the next, she found herself trying to make it back to the hospital before he died.

Suddenly, her life seemed to lose all meaning. Gone was the man around whom she centered her world and, staggered by her grief, Oates lost all desire to go on alone. She could not sleep, had no desire to eat, and felt even her spirit fading away as the thought of suicide more and more appealed to her. What kept Oates going in those early months was her ability to lose herself in her "JCO" personae; she became a Joyce Carol Oates impersonator, an author with commitments that allowed her to travel from reading-to-reading across the country. She did not have to be Joyce Smith, widow, until she returned to her lonely New Jersey home.

A Widow's Story will remind many readers of Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking (2005), in which Didion explored her own reaction to sudden widowhood. Like that memoir, A Widow's Story can, at times, be disturbing in its frankness about the effects of the despair and grief that follow the loss of a longtime spouse and companion. Most disturbing to me, personally, was the realization that even someone like Oates, with her vast network of friends, colleagues and well-wishers, essentially had to weather the storm on her own. Good intentions and simple kindnesses did little to relieve her of the pain that crushed both her spirit and her will to live.

Oates is a survivor now, as is Didion. What she tells us about her experience is not pretty, and it is not particularly inspirational. But it is real, and that, after all, is what Joyce Carol Oates is all about. This woman pulls no punches in her fiction, and she pulls no punches here.
18 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Not for the emotionally squeamish 15 avril 2011
Par Annie B - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
As a long-time reader of Joyce Carol Oates, I was fascinated to learn she'd written a memoir about the death of her husband. I found this book to be unlike anything else she's ever written. It is very raw, very open and extremely revealing.

The book is almost too revealing about her devastation and preoccupation with suicide. Still, I think for many widows this is exactly what they feel and think about after losing their spouses. Life narrows beyond belief for many who've gone through the death of a spouse or long-term partner and I found her obsessions and reactions to be authentic.

I also found it fascinating that the persona of Joyce Carol Oates, along with a few very close friends, is what pulled her through this time and gave her the focus that she so desperately needed. I guess like many others I never realized the Joyce Smith and Joyce Carol Oates were not the same, that JCO was her public, professional self. Oates draws this distinction between her private and public selves very clearly in the book and more than anything else she's written gives insight into both.

Though the story was very painful to read, I am so happy that I read A Widow's Story. I learned details about this amazing writer's life that I wouldn't have learned otherwise. I have always believed that Joyce Carol Oates is one of the bravest women writers out there, as she has had many harsh critics through the years. This book proves that she is, indeed, brave to show this side of herself to the world.
8 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Fascinating and visceral 11 mai 2011
Par Pasiphae - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
Joyce Carol Oates and her husband allowed each other an inviolate privacy of the imagination. From it, Oates drew bucket after bucket of fictional incest, obsession, crippling depression, rape and self-administered abortion. I have never been sure where she found so much darkness, but this memoir does offer up some fascinating possibilities.

Some aspects of grief are universal, and others are specific to the mourner. Most survivors seem to experience the second-guessing, the stubborn denial, the panic at having to reiterate and therefore relive what's happened, the power and delusion of magical thinking. But when Oates's husband died, she also experienced his loss as rejection, as an abandonment, as if by dying, he'd refused her and their life together. Anyone who has fallen into depression after being left by someone they love will recognize "the basilisk," the staring creature that recommends suicide as an alternative to the self-loathing engendered by abandonment. This seems to me a particular kind of hell for Ms. Oates, one that many readers might not understand. But Oates has never shied away from the ugly. In fact, she seems drawn to it. So her own most negative emotions and reactions are recorded as carefully as the negative aspects of any of her fictional characters. She lies, she evades. She is needy at times, and withdrawing at others. Her fury at being overwhelmed with flowers and food baskets isn't pretty, but it's truthful.

Along with a portrait of her grieving, she's offered a portrait of a very unique and successful marriage, one based on constant physical togetherness and complete intellectual privacy. I am fascinated by the fact that Raymond Smith did not read his wife's fiction, nor did she read his. Could she have delved as deeply into the dark places if she'd known her husband would read, judge, speculate on what she incorporated into her work? Did he respect her dark genius enough to leave her alone with it? I am not sure. I do know that for each of the last thirty-plus years, I have read one of her novels. My favorite works (Childwold, Marya, a Life, A Broadsmoor Romance, Bellefleur) were written in the first twenty years of her writing career, and I have always been intensely curious about the woman who wrote them. This memoir is a swim in a reservoir of anxiety, depression and fear, and it is not easy going. But it offers a fascinating portrait of her strangely dichotomous life; the placid ease of her marriage, the twisted brilliance of her writing.
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