Sunday, April 7, 2013

I'm so Taken by The Falls

I'm reading The Falls: A Novel (P.S.) by Joyce Carol Oates. Very Old Skool. I know I used to read Joyce Carol Oates, but I go back and look through her catalogue of 70 plus novels, short story collections, and plays, and only one title sticks out, You Must Remember This. But I've forgotten most—almost all?—of the story. But she's been writing up a storm since then with all sorts of intriguing new titles like: The Accursed, Daddy LoveMudwoman, and Zombie.

I got The Falls for $2.99. One of those Pixel of Ink things that assures I'll never ever ever take another breath without something interesting to read on my Kindle.

I'm so taken by The Falls. As I said, very Old Skool, and gender is a prominent theme. Kind of like it's being hit with a sledgehammer. Oates isn't a friendly writer. Nor is she a romantic writer in that if she's ever had a pair of rose-colored glasses I'm sure that she's smashed them. Probably with that sledgehammer. And if anyone was ballsy enough to give her another pair, I wouldn't be surprised if she crushed them with her bare hands right in front of them. Probably said something like: Rose-tinted things are for the fearful and fools.

As a writer, she's not really kind or generous towards her characters. She's kind of mean, really. Most of them are neurotic, limited, shallow, obsessive…gender stereotypes lurk beneath every single one like stick figures or old-fashioned dressmakers mannequins without heads. And yet…gender issues are fascinating. The lens of sexual identity is infinite. I'm not sure anyone has done it more exhaustively than Oates. I'm definitely going to be picking up some of her newer works once I've finished The Falls.