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Carthage by [Oates, Joyce Carol]
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Carthage Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Review

‘The ever-prolific Joyce Carol Oates is at the top of her game in this suspense-filled thriller … about guilt, punishment and forgiveness’ Financial Times

‘A substantial book that deals with truths of the type that we often do not want to confront … Oates is an ambitious writer of huge confidence … The characters … are brilliantly drawn … but what keeps you going is the writing … Oates writes about America’s big themes. Her prose is elegant. She is the mistress of all she surveys’ The Times

‘”Carthage” is not just the suspense thriller it had seemed at first sight … what it attains is a profound and poignant vision of American guilt, and its potential for some kind of absolution’ John Burnside, Guardian

‘A gripping exploration of a community in crisis after a young girl disappears’ Stella Magazine, Sunday Telegraph

‘The prolific Joyce Carol Oates is back doing what she does best – exposing the darkness of the human heart' Good Housekeeping

‘Joyce Carol Oates is … a rare example of a prolific author who has managed to maintain her reputation as a serious literary novelist … “Carthage” is an immensely proficient novel, with careful and elegant prose, and interesting experiments with form … an intriguing and unpredictable read. Oates succeeds in portraying the complex damage done to the fabric of a society by war – no matter how far away it is’ Frances Perraudin, Observer

‘Her characters are created with a Dickensian sharpness of detail, and their relationships with one another are often involving; her language is rough-hewn and lovely; her plots are suspenseful and artfully made … Her new novel is her most substantial in some time’ Edmund Gordon, Sunday Times

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.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2745 KB
  • Print Length: 501 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (21 Jan. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DJHKGUK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #103,282 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The best book I've read in months. Moving, deeply emotionally invested in its characters. A meditation on the effects of war, violence, the morality of the death penalty, the treatment of soldiers after war, the effect of grief on families, etc etc etc. It's a big book with big themes. This is Joyce Carol Oates' best book since We Were the Mulvaneys. It's powerful, detailed, and relentlessly focussed on its tragedies (if that sentence puts you off then this is not the book for you!) I LOVED Cressida - never have I come across a more convincing late adolescent troubled girl. The whole book has the true, ineluctable trajectory of all great tragedies. It's wide in scope and tender in the treatment of its characters, with a sliver of ice at its core. A brilliant book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Carthage is a very good novel. It turned out to be very different novel than I was expecting. From reading the blurb I thought it would be a literary crime novel. It turned out to be very different. I was hooked on the novel from page one. The book took ages to read because there are only seventeen, generally very long chapters. The plot is very interesting. The central premise is that of a missing girl, an adult not a teenager so this is handled differently by the police than if a child had gone missing. Like all of JCO’s novels Carthage is more than the sum of its parts. Add to the mix a physically and mentally damaged war hero with blood of the missing girl in his car and you’ve got a page turner. I liked the characters but didn’t think they were developed as well as they could have been. I enjoyed the story but the characters never felt quite real to me. Cressida, the missing girl is revealed to be quite a horrible person. The only characters I had sympathy for in the end were Cressida’s sister Juliet and her ex-fiancée. Carthage is well written and very enjoyable but the characters could have been fleshed out a bit more.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I thought this was a very good book. It goes from one character's story to another, but not as an affectation to be tricksy, it makes the story compelling. I loved the way it's written, clear, nothing wasted, evocative and involving.
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By Roman Clodia TOP 500 REVIEWER on 8 Dec. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a searing and devastating novel of guilt and redemption, themes often treated in fiction but not always with the cool, perceptive eye of an Oates.

The writing takes us into the heads of characters and gives an emotional intimacy that is as disturbing as it is effective. A brilliant book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Joyce Carol Oates, America's greatest living writer, rarely fails to deliver a compelling and emotionally engaging novel, and that is certainly the case with Carthage. The story is one of her best, and the structure of the work is truly masterful (she has always fixated on the structure of novels, occasionally to the detriment of other aspects), but stylistically speaking, it's not one of her finest accomplishments, as the quality of the writing varies throughout the work. There are some truly clumsy sentence constructions here, which occasionally hinder the reading experience. I agree with another reviewer that the novel seems rushed through; one gets the feeling as her mortality grows ever closer that she's not as fastidious in her revisions as she once was, which is kind of understandable. And yet there are passages in this novel that are close to sublime, foremost being the account of Cressida's time spent in Florida, which has a different mood from the rest of the novel. The mystery present in the novel has nothing to do with the disappearance, but rather with the dynamics of the family, any family, and the way changes wrought on it by circumstance and fate mangle these dynamics and make life a constant bewilderment. JCO said in a past interview that her books are not sending a specific message to the reader, as she is not a propagandist, but that is not strictly true. One of the main thrusts of this book is her scorn and contempt for American involvement in the Iraq war and the blind patriotism that followed on from 9/11. Witness the relish with which she describes the horrors and callous behaviour of soldiers in that war. However the characters are always the main motive for Oates, and the way she unfolds the inner lives of the characters in this book is superb, as ever.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
The difference between a writer and a great writer is that the latter will produce a piece of work which is at once engaging, it may provoke you as well as endeavour to make you consider viewpoints which you may not agree with. Throughout her long and varied career, Joyce Carol Oates has produced fiction and non-fiction which are frequently not ‘easy’ reads, they will challenge you, making you question your moral codes and often offer alternatives which you may struggle with. She never shies away from controversy which is what makes her work so exciting to read.

With Carthage, she has once again created a work of fiction which delves deep into the dark side of American society, looking at the effects of its’ war on terror has had on individuals and communities. Readers of Oates are well aware of her mastery of the ‘psychological’ thriller, and in Carthage she once gives us a master class in the genre but also produces a highly readable, intense work of fiction. The novel centres around the disappearance of Cressida Mayfield, the daughter of the former mayor of Carthage, she was last seen with her sister’s ex-fiancé, Corporal Brett Kincaid, a veteran of the Iraq war who has suffered huge trauma to both his mind and body. As the story unfolds, we witness the impact of her disappearance on those involved, how there is a blurring of what is truth and what is not, and how we as human beings attempt to overcome tragedy turning to places and people we would never usually contemplate.

This is not just a ‘psychological’ thriller, it is an examination of war and its effects upon our psyche, it is also a condemnation of the American justice system and at it’s heart is the disintegration of a person’s or persons’ inner core.
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