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Rape: A Love Story Kindle Edition

4 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Length: 160 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Product Description


‘An important book… All men should read it.’ -- Lewis DeSoto, Literary Review

‘Raw and rapid… both disturbing and compelling… Simple and shocking… tailor-made to trigger debate.’ -- New Statesman

About the Author

Joyce Carol Oates, a National Book Award winner, is the author of numerous works of fiction including We Were the Mulvaneys which was an Oprah Book Club Choice and Blonde which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. Her books have been translated into many languages and her short stories widely anthologized. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a Distinguished Professor of Humanities at Princeton University.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 532 KB
  • Print Length: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books (5 Jun. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00J75GW56
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #105,834 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael Watson VINE VOICE on 10 Dec. 2008
Format: Paperback
I'd never read an Oates book before and came across this one by chance. Glad I did. I was intrigued by the title. How could rape be also a love story? Well, now I know!

It's also a story of what ifs, if onlys. If only the single yourng mother had allowed her daughter, Bethel, to sleep-over at friends, if only...well, there are quite a few more which serves no purpose since the mother, Teena, finished up fighting for her life after a brutal and horrifying gang-rape.

The story is mainly told through the eyes of Bethie who was also badly beaten and traumatised at the same time. The style of writing is quick, forceful and yet filled with just the right words to convey their meaning.

Sparse it may be, but the reader is left in no doubt how it happened, why it happened and who were the main low-lifes who committed the act. That subsequent court hearings cast doubt on the events only causes a certain NYPD officer to carefully deal with the problem. Despite the awful act, there is love abounding in the book. The daughter who loves her devastated mother, the officer who, as in one of those inexplicable events in life when you meet someone casually and they remain in your mind forever watches over Teena, the grandmother who does her best for daughter and granddaughter; even the parents of the yobs who just cannot believe their offspring could do such a thing. Love is all around and thank goodness it is. You finish this novella quickly because it moves quickly. But you are left in no doubt that, despite horrific events, there is hope and you should cling to it no matter the odds. All-in-all, I'm more than glad I read this book; I'm sure you will be, too.
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Format: Paperback
In one of the USA's most famous honeymoon hotspots, Niagara Falls, a group of friends are having a party to celebrate July 4th. Thirty-one year old widow Teena Maguire and her 12 year old daughter Bethel are at Teena's boyfriend's house and decide to walk home. Teena has had a few drinks and foolishly makes a mistake that nearly costs both their lives. Rather than take the well-lit route home along the road, she decides to walk back through the park. A gang of young local men, drunk and high on methamphetamine force the mother and daughter into a filthy boat house, physically beat both of them and when the daughter wriggles away and hides in a corner, they rape and kick Teena so badly that she's left bleeding on the floor, close to death.

It doesn't take long for the men to be identified - and even less time for the rumours and allegations to start; rumours not about the violent young men but about their victim. Teena's only crime was to be too young and pretty, to dress provocatively and not to conform to people's expectations of a young widow. Once the physical wounds are healed and Teena is out of hospital, we go to court with her and Bethel for the initial hearing. The mother of two of the attackers sits in the front row muttering "Bitch! Whore! Liar" at Teena. Her husband hires his 'boys' a top defence lawyer - a man with no qualms about destroying the victims if it keeps his clients out of prison or gets them a reduced sentence. Threatening notes are left at Teena and Bethel's home, Bethel gets bullied at school. The boyfriend can't deal with what's happened.

I feared I could see exactly where it was going - that the societal psychological 'rape' of Teena would be every bit as painful and devastating as the physical rape of July 4th.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a masterful if relentlessly dark tale of urban alienation, redeemed by its fluid, pared-down narration and strong voices.

Like a dog circling a corpse, the author uses the first nine chapters gradually to zone in on the rape - which is eventually described from the point of view of the terrified 12 year old daughter of Teena, the flirty thirty-something victim of a horrific gang attack.

The narrative switches between the viewpoints of Teena, her daughter Bethie, her boyfriend Casey, the avenging policeman Dromoor, and several of the congenitally stupid and remorseless perpetrators. This generally works well, though all of the characters are hunted and haunted. In the background is the run down, leftover north-eastern town of Buffalo which seems devoid of beauty or hope. Social devastation is the norm.

The first part is followed by chilling if sketchy pre-trial hearings. The ruthlessly clever defence attorney portrays Teena as an alcoholic-druggie slut, whose desperate but willing prostitution to the crystal meths gang got out of control. Meanwhile, the neighbourhood gossips jealously blame Teena for encouraging rape by her lifestyle, pitilessly exaggerating the victim's supposedly risky behaviour: 'That Maguire woman, she had it coming.' Despair overwhelms.

The last third of the book loses some of its emotional force as the obsessive policeman John Dromoor carries out a series of vengeful murders of the chief rapists. Though predictably satisfying, the vigilante killings let the reader off the hook: they are a fantasy denouement which reduce the effect in the reader's mind of the suffering and degradation of the victims.

However, Oates has a final sting in the tale. We are left with a coda of brief, stark portraits of Bethie and Dromoor, years later, living apparently normal lives with their very different families, from which they feel deeply estranged.
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