A young girl's disappearance rocks a community and a family, in this stirring examination of grief, faith, justice and the atrocities of war, from literary legend Joyce Carol Oates.
Zeno Mayfield's daughter has disappeared into the night, gone missing in the wilds of the Adirondacks. But when the community of Carthage joins a father's frantic search for the girl, they discover instead the unlikeliest of suspects - a decorated Iraq War veteran with close ties to the Mayfield family. As grisly evidence mounts against the troubled war hero, the family must wrestle with the possibility of having lost a daughter forever.
Carthage plunges us deep into the psyche of a wounded young Corporal, haunted by unspeakable acts of wartime aggression, while unraveling the story of a disaffected young girl whose exile from her family may have come long before her disappearance. Dark and riveting, Carthage is a powerful addition to the Joyce Carol Oates canon, one that explores the human capacity for violence, love and forgiveness, and asks if it's ever truly possible to come home again.
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.
Read Caroline Baum's Review
There’s something relentless, and bleak and taut that makes Joyce Carol Oates’ Carthage compelling as a snapshot of small town American angst. It’s the story of what happens when Cressida Mayfield a young woman who is the intelligent sister as opposed to the pretty one goes missing - and the last person she was seen with was her sister’s fiancé, newly returned form the war in Iraq where he was severely disabled.
Oates has long been an explorer of the dark soul of her country. Here she focusses on the implosion of a family, wielding her controlled prose like a scalpel, dissecting the flesh and the psyche and degrees of responsibility of the Mayfields with detached and chilly precision. It’s disturbing, unsettling and lethally effective, though I wouldn’t call the experience enjoyable.
'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
Number Of Pages: 400
Published: 1st February 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.5 x 3.9
Weight (kg): 0.64