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My Heart Laid Bare – tekijä: Joyce Oates
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My Heart Laid Bare (alkuperäinen julkaisuvuosi 1999; vuoden 1999 painos)

– tekijä: Joyce Oates (Tekijä)

Sarjat: Gothic Saga (4)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
326563,007 (3.8)26
A novel on a family of swindlers, following several generations of men and women as they exploit human greed, love, or just plain gullibility, all in the name of the game. Occasionally, they help things along with a murder.
Jäsen:judybloom
Teoksen nimi:My Heart Laid Bare
Kirjailijat:Joyce Oates (Tekijä)
Info:Plume (1999), 544 pages
Kokoelmat:Fiction, Oma kirjasto (inactive)
Arvio (tähdet):
Avainsanoja:-

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My Heart Laid Bare (tekijä: Joyce Carol Oates) (1999)

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näyttää 5/5
Sarah Wilcox, lady’s maid in merry, old England, takes up her mistress’s clothing and jewels, and passes herself off as nobility. When caught, she is transported to pre-Revolutionary War America and manages to continue her artful schemes under many names, for many years, before her death in western New York state. It is the descendants of Ms. Wilcox which this novel is concerned with.

Abraham Licht and his children are a family of extremely talented confidence artists (a.k.a. swinders, grifters, hustlers, scammers) whose base of operation, or home if you will, is in western New York state and on the land of his forebear. The story of the Licht family is a wide-ranging, colorful family saga, which moves back and forth in time, following Abraham and his various children over the decades from the Gilded Age to the early 1930s. Told in an irresistible narrative voice, the book is hard to put down. It is inventive, often comic, fun to read, full of bits of American history and the endless schemes (or schemes within schemes) of Abraham Licht or is it Dr. Moses Liebknecht or A. Washburn Frielicht PhD or Lord Harburton Shaw or…. It is possible that the story might be a bit overstuffed, and the time changes sometimes a bit disorientating.

This is the fourth of five books in Joyce Carol Oates’s "Gothic Saga" or "Gothic Quintet," and was first published in 1998. I started this book in 2012 after reading the three previous books (all of which I enjoyed immensely), but at the time this one didn’t grab me so I set it aside. I read the fifth book when it was published in 2013. Why I thought to go back to this novel at this particular time is probably less a mystery than one imagines, for there is something very American about a family saga of con men and women. And one might ponder whether there is also something very American about their unwitting victims. ( )
1 ääni avaland | Mar 16, 2019 |
My Heart Laid Bare is a creation from an epic imagination—what a beautiful thing for a writer to enjoy, especially to use it to produce something so grand is a labor of love. Joyce Carol Oates is quite the creative dynamo—I’ve lost count of how many stories she’s written, and I have yet to buy let alone read all of them. One thing for sure, she loves words, she comes out to play with them; part of her process is becoming possessed by the story that she must tell—wringing out every last ounce of the tale tucked deep in the darkest corners of her mind. Writing like this is an exhausting and exhilarating process (not for the faint of heart) and at times can be the same exhausting and exhilarating experience for the reader. The books of the American Gothic Saga series never cease to amaze me with their complexity—they are larger than life stories chock full of larger than life characters—the head shaking unbelievable meshed with the head nodding believable. Abraham Licht’s family of My Heart Laid Bare is one of notorious distinction; seductive connivers, charming chameleons—they are perfectly flawed, blessed and damned—dichotomies of grotesque beauty—I could go on, but I will leave it at that—I don’t want to spoil it with details. As with any book from this series, it is best to approach these pages with an open mind and a sense of humor—for to take it too seriously (or literally) will only lead to vexation—the Gothics are unlike the rest of her fiction—yet where they diverge in their unique qualities, they complement each other too. This novel possesses a life of its own; the charisma of the characters makes this book so—evocative—macabre—dazzling—emotionally intense. Oh, I was sad to see it end. I love it for its lush writing style, daring to be gluttonous with its descriptions and it’s absolutely dripping with atmosphere—the American Gothic Sagas are my guilty pleasure. This book is the fourth out of five in the series—I’m glad there is one more left to read! The Accursed release date is March 2013… ( )
1 ääni LauraJWRyan | Jan 25, 2013 |
What happens if there is a father of 7 children who gives them all quality time and ballet lessons and music lessons, and says that he loves each equally, but just happens to be one of the most skillful scam artists of the (fictional) early 20th century. Not only does he have a master touch for reeling in suckers, but when each fraud in turn goes sour or turns unprofitable, he can walk away without getting caught. For decades.
His enthusiasm is infectious. His kids are caught up in it. I was caught up in it. The guy is a scumbag, but by some mysterious combination of his innate character and the author's presentation of same, I felt myself rooting for him. That's terrible!
How could I do such a thing, knowing that he tells dozens of lies everyday to his family and everyone he comes in contact with.
I kept waiting for him to bump accidentally in the street into one of the hundreds--wait, thousands--of marks that he preyed upon throughout his life.
Just like many of the men in the book, I am in envy of his success with women. I am honest, and not a crook like him; why don't any women like me as much as they like him?
The saddest part of this book is how the children are trapped in the spiritual prison erected by their father. The physical boundaries that exist during the periods when they live at the edge of a swamp are minimal by comparison. In fact, he takes them--and I mean selected ones, not the whole brood--travelling all over the Eastern United States.
So his love of the children is not equal after all. The only ones he takes with him are the ones that can be his pawns in whatever newest scheme is being initiated. The fifth and sixth children are not judged by the father as capable of "The Game," meaning not capable of being an active part of one of their father's swindles, and not able to create an air-tight lie on the spot when a doubtful bystander happens to question them. (Should their father be momentarily absent.)
Please read this book if you want to find a window onto the early 20th century history of the U.S.A., including not too much shining virtue, contrasted with a heap of treacherous conniving.
  libraryhermit | Jan 12, 2011 |
3 generations carry on English confidence man's legacy

1.90 ( )
  aletheia21 | Nov 10, 2006 |
näyttää 5/5
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If any ambitious man have a fancy to revolutionize, at one effort, the universal world of human thought, human opinions, and human sentiment, the opportunity is his own - the road to immortal renown lies straight, open, unencumbered before him. All that he has to do is write and publish a very little book. Its title shoudl be simple - a few plain words - "My Heart Laid Bare." But this little book must be true to its title. No man dare write it. No man could write it, even if he dared. THe paper would shrivel and blaze at every touch of the fiery pen. - Edgar Allen Poe, 1848
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Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
She ws not a Londoner by birth, she was very likely not even English by birth, you could hear it in her voice.
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia (1)

A novel on a family of swindlers, following several generations of men and women as they exploit human greed, love, or just plain gullibility, all in the name of the game. Occasionally, they help things along with a murder.

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