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Rape: A Love Story [Kindle Edition]

Joyce Carol Oates
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: £4.35 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Book Description

Teena Maguire should not have tried to shortcut her way home that Fourth of July. Not after midnight, not through Rocky Point Park. Not the way she was dressed in a tank top, denim cutoffs, and high-heeled sandals. Not with her twelve-year-old daughter Bethie. Not with packs of local guys running loose on hormones, rage and alcohol. A victim of gang rape, left for dead in the park boathouse, the once vivacious Teena can now only regret that she has survived.

At a relentlessly compelling pace punctuated by lonely cries in the night and the whisper of terror in the afternoon, Joyce Carol Oates unfolds the story of Teena and Bethie, their assailants, and their unexpected, silent champion, a man who knows the meaning of justice. And love.

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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 many works of fiction including the bestsellers 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. She is a Distinguished Professor of Humanities at Princeton University.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 434 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: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #77,746 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Book Award and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including 'We Were the Mulvaneys', which was an Oprah Book Club Choice, and 'Blonde', which was nominated for the National Book Award. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of Humanities at Princeton University.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing 10 Dec. 2008
By Michael Watson TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love? But not as we know it. 29 Jan. 2012
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good novel
Published 10 days ago by Fafian
1.0 out of 5 stars Extra medium
Personally, I despise Oates' style of writing. It's almost fraudulent and as though she's trying too hard to get across a pretty mundane and already-overly-elaborated point, making... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Alastair Greyson
5.0 out of 5 stars stunning
A traumatic and unflinching, but beautifully written short novel by the amazing JCO. This book will remain with you. Highly recommended
Published 11 months ago by G. Kinman
5.0 out of 5 stars beautifully crafted. I read it in one sitting
This book is powerful, beautifully crafted. I read it in one sitting. I love the rhythm of the the prose. The subject is is brutal and the portrayal is raw. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Project Sunrise
5.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT ! A book one must read... yet not for the faint-hearted
I'd never yet read anything by Joyce Carol Oates. After a close friend strongly recommended her work, I told myself I'd give it a try. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Elisabeth COTTIER FÁBIÁN
2.0 out of 5 stars made the longlist 2006 oranage prize award - disturbing
As the title suggests this is a horrific tale of a young girls gang rape and for that reason if you find this disturbing do not read. Read more
Published on 10 Sept. 2009 by Dr Phibes
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't do with Me as You will
Over the years, Joyce Carol Oates has used the short novel form as a way to expiate her literary and personal demons; subjects she only touches upon in her more "serious" novels. Read more
Published on 9 Nov. 2006 by MICHAEL ACUNA
4.0 out of 5 stars a good read
well as i was looking for a quick read for a uni assignment/book review about rape this was perfect, definatly a quick read, only took a few hours to read. Read more
Published on 7 Nov. 2006 by R. Gregory
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not great
This snack-sized book certainly gives the reader plenty to think about, but none of it very original. Read more
Published on 8 Oct. 2006 by Jenny
5.0 out of 5 stars A Challenging read
If this is the first book that you have read by Joyce Carol Oates and I can guaruntee that you won't be dissapointed. Read more
Published on 10 April 2006 by Lynda Wiseman
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