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Joyce Carol Oates’s Wonderland Quartet comprises four remarkable novels that explore social class in America and the inner lives of young Americans. Spanning from the Great Depression to the turbulent Vietnam War era, Wonderland is the epic account of Jesse Vogel, a boy who emerged from a family tragedy with his life spared but his world torn apart. Orphaned after watching his father murder his entire family, Jesse embarks on a personal odyssey that takes him from a Dickensian foster home to college and graduate school to the pinnacle of the medical profession. As an adult, Jesse must summon the strength to reach across the “generation gap” and rescue his endangered teenaged daughter, who has fallen into the drug-infused 1960s counterculture. Hailed by Library Journal as “the greatest of Oates’s novels,” Wonderland is the capstone of a magnificent literary excursion that plunges beneath the glossy surface of American life. Wonderland is the final novel in Joyce Carol Oates’s Wonderland Quartet. The books that complete this acclaimed series, A Garden of Earthly Delights, Expensive People, and them, are also available from the Modern Library.JFrom the Trade Paperback edition.read more
Joyce Carol Oates is brilliant, and this novel portrays the full depth of her writing talent. It begins with a boy, Jesse, witnessing the aftermath of his father's killing spree on his own family and then committing suicide. He is shuffled from one place to another, abandoned by his strange grandfather and an even stranger adoptive family. Somehow he manages to finish medical school with honors, marries, has two daughters and is an acclaimed surgeon. The tragedies in his life are myriad and the ending is horrific. It couldn't have ended any differently and remained true to the essence of Jesse's life. It is beautifully written as only JCO can write.read more
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Our review of Oates's 1971 masterpiece starring Jesse Vogel, reissued here with a new afterword, concluded: `` `Wonderland' is not a place from which one escapes unscathed but for those who care about the best in American fiction it must be visited.' '' (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved