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Broke Heart Blues

OATES, Joyce Carol

508 Bewertungen bei Goodreads
ISBN 10: 1860496938 / ISBN 13: 9781860496936
Verlag: Virago, London, 1999
Gebraucht Zustand: Very Good Hardcover
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Beschreibung

Brando. Dean. John Reddy Heart is right up there among them, at least in the eyes of the residents of Willowsville, NY. The young heart-throb begins his bad-boy career at 16, the night a man is murdered in his mother's house. Was he protecting his mother, covering her crime, or is he innocent?. Buchnummer des Verkäufers 028592

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Bibliografische Details

Titel: Broke Heart Blues

Verlag: Virago, London

Erscheinungsdatum: 1999

Einband: hardcover

Zustand:Very Good

Zustand des Schutzumschlags: Very Good

Auflage: First Edition.

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Inhaltsangabe:

John Reddy Heart came to Willowsville, New York, driving a salmon-colored Cadillac Bel Air and sitting on three Las Vegas phone books; he was eleven years old. From that day on, as John, his seductive mother, addled grandfather, and younger siblings settled into one of the town's most beautiful homes, John Reddy Heart would become legendary as a rebel, a heartthrob, and an outlaw. In this uproarious epic novel from one of our most gifted contemporary storytellers, the ballad of John Reddy Heart -- his rise, fall, and second ascent into the realm of myth -- is sung by a chorus of Willowsville voices who find in him their savior, scapegoat, dream lover, and confessor. Broke Heart Blues may be the most entertaining novel yet from Joyce Carol Oates: razor-sharp satire that holds a mirror up to America's obsession with celebrity.

Review:

If our age's ascendant idol is celebrity, then Joyce Carol Oates's conceit in Broke Heart Blues--that such worship is as compelling as in any less secular era--is both insight and affront. Set primarily in an affluent Buffalo, New York, suburb in the mid-'60s, the novel's charismatic core is high-school sensation John Reddy Heart, a local legend whose faultless, James Dean cool is so penetrating that it colors his peers' lives--even as his Christ-like transfiguration removes him from their orbit. As always, Oates's chronicling of her many characters is fairly astonishing in its scope, while the allegorical sheen of the book allows her to probe an often ambivalent fascination.

When the young John Reddy first arrives in town, he--as well as his beautiful and dissolute mother--becomes an object of instant awe. Handsome, dangerous, and inscrutable, he transforms steadily into a near-rumor, his every act lore-worthy, his habits the stuff of endless speculation. "Though he enters you through the eyes, he's someone you feel," observes one classmate. While his allure is, initially, mostly physical--the boys want to emulate him, the girls want to lose their virginity to him--John Reddy eventually becomes transcendent: that someone like him exists is a challenge to the drab and predictable trajectories of his classmates' lives. When one of his mother's lovers is killed, and the evidence seemingly points to John Reddy himself, a feverish martyrdom ensues, a self-sacrifice that is, we discover, more tangled and exacting than his disciple-like peers can imagine.

Oates, admirably, takes many chances in Broke Heart Blues, not the least of which is a frequent first-person plural narrator that, while allowing both a broad and immediate view of the proceedings, often seems thickly undifferentiated, a device for emphasizing the insular nature of rumor. John Reddy's identification with Christ (and the trinity he forms with his mother and grandfather) is a difficult maneuver as well, making him less a viable protagonist than a central cipher, an accretion of conjecture and myth. When, after a lengthy detour into the prosaic aftermath of John Reddy's high school career, we see his classmates at their 30-year reunion in Second Coming posture, longing for a John Reddy sighting, the endurance of celebrity becomes not only plain but pathetic. The cult of personality may lead to redemption, but life, inevitably, is what transpires in the interval. --Ben Guterson

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