Original language: English

Original title: A Garden of Earthly Delights

Translation (into Catalan): Núria Busquet Molist

Year of publication: 1966

Valuation: Ambitious and definitely recommended

What a novel it is A garden of earthly delights. There are several aspects for which this ambitious work by Joyce Carol Oates stands out: the sensitivity of the ensemble, the voluptuousness of her prose, the overall bittersweet tone, her ability to portray rural America and the complexity of her cast. .

The undisputed protagonist of A garden of earthly delights It is Clara, who initially lives with her family of day laborers, then escapes with Lowry, marries Curt and finally takes care of her son Swan.

The chapters that subdivide the book are named after three of the men who have so marked Clara’s life. The first, for example, is titled “Carleton,” in honor of our heroine’s father; “Lowry” and “Swan” follow.

There are numerous themes considered in this novel. I would highlight structural poverty, abuse in all its meanings or existential hopes and disappointments. These themes are addressed with absolute mastery through the plot and, to a lesser extent, the forays into the psychology of the characters.

I would only have two objections to A garden of earthly delights. The first would be its extension; Although the book never becomes long or heavy at any point, it unnecessarily drags out certain scenes.

Secondly, I would reproach the novel for occasionally repeating previously provided information; The latter may be because Oates wants to emphasize certain details, but for me, for example, there are too many mentions of the obsession with Carleton’s white skin tone or the idea that Clara is nothing more than a dog found on the road. for Lowry.

Oh, one last thing: A garden of earthly pleasures It is the first novel in a tetralogy called Wonderland. As I understand it, the rest of the saga maintains the level, so we are undoubtedly talking about one of the largest North American narrative projects in terms of scale and quality.

Source: https://unlibroaldia.blogspot.com/2024/05/joyce-carol-oates-un-jardin-de-placeres.html

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