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Rape: A Love Story Hardcover – 14 Jul 2005


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books (14 July 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843544121
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843544128
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13.4 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 324,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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Review

"'Joyce Carol Oates is a genius' Guardian"

About the Author

Joyce Carol Oates, whose first book was published over 45 years ago, is recipient of the National Book Award and one of America's most honoured authors. She is the author of many novels, 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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First Sentence
AFTER SHE WAS GANG-RAPED, kicked and beaten and left to die on the floor of the filthy boathouse at Rocky Point Park. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Michael Watson TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By boingboing on 29 Jan 2012
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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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By MICHAEL ACUNA on 9 Nov 2006
Format: Paperback
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. In "Rape, A Love Story" we have the horrible gang rape of Teena Maguire witnessed by her daughter, Bethie. Much of "Rape" reads like a police report or something you might watch on Court TV. The writing is very spare, direct, and journalistically precise: "the woman had to be drunk, high on coke herself, partying since early evening and by midnight you can figure the state she was in, how the hell could Teena Maguire even recognize who had sex with her? And how many"

The Love story angle of the title is of course not a straight ahead, direct man-to woman one but one involving a Niagara Falls Policeman, Dromoor, who finds Teena at the crime scene and who takes it upon himself to become her avenging Angel: "A gun excited him. It was a good feeling. Quickened his pulse so he could actually feel it. Sometimes a tinge in the groin"

"Rape" is not a treatise on rape, per se, nor is it wholly a comment on the tendency of society to place blame on the victim. What it is, is a serious commentary on the randomness of crime: crime that is too often fueled by drugs and alcohol. More imprtantly though it is about the devastating personal effect crime has on the victim and the family of the victim.

Like "Zombie," "The Rise of Life on Earth" and last years "Beasts," "Rape" is out to make a point about a very specific subject. Oates doesn't waste any time getting there and uses very few words in the process. "Rape" is not a major Oates work but it is an interesting, often pathetic and emotionally aware one. And as such it is of interest to all of her fans that crave a quick Oates fix before the next full length novel.
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