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The Rise of Life on Earth
The Rise of Life on Earth from author Joyce Carol Oates is the latest short story to be checked off my always growing to be read list. If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, then you likely already know I’m a big fan of Joyce Carol Oates and her writing.
“She wondered if there were others of her kind and if these others knew of one another and knew of one another’s secret strength, the terrible secret strength of those whom the human world has made invisible.”Joyce Carol Oates, The Rise of Life on Earth
I have been reading a ton of new novels lately and found myself wanting something both older and shorter for my next read. This made The Rise of Life on Earth a perfect choice!
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Have you read The Rise of Life on Earth yet? Come on in and let me tell you about it!
About The Rise of Life on Earth
Selected by The New York Times Book Review as one of the most notable books of 1991, Joyce Carol Oates’s The Rise of Life on Earth Is a memorable portrait of one of the “insulted and injured” of American society.
Set in the underside of working-class Detroit of the ’60s and ’70s, this short, lyric novel sketches Kathleen Hennessy’s violent childhood—shattered by a broken home, child-beating, and murder—and follows her into her early adult years as a hospital health-care worker.
Overworked, underpaid, and quietly overzealous, Kathleen falls in love with a young doctor, whose exploitation of her sets the course of the remainder of her life, in which her passivity masks a deep fury and secret resolve to take revenge.
Thoughts on The Rise of Life on Earth
The Rise of Life on Earth is written in a cold, brutal, and detached way. It will shock the reader. It definitely isn’t for the faint of heart! The fact it is written in such a way heightens the impact of the story, making it feel and seem even more shocking.
“It was Joseph Hennessy’s story that he had never beaten either of his daughters though in his general attitude he seemed to acknowledge that one, or both, might be dead.”Joyce Carol Oates, The Rise of Life on Earth
This story is short, at a mere one hundred and thirty five pages, but those pages will shock and appall you throughout. The best way I can describe it is that it is an intense read.
I was shocked and horrified by the ending of this book. Definitely not what I was expecting, to say the least. This was an emotionally difficult read, and that is how it is meant to be. It is a true testament to suffering and abuse. But also to what happens when sadistic abuse is never addressed. The elephant in the room continues to grow if not acknowledged, so to speak.
Final Thoughts on The Rise of Life on Earth
“Now that she knew: she knew there was no hope: knowing there is no hope can be a wonderful thing and now she knew, now she would do it, what must be done, for Kathleen Hennessy’s nature was practical and procedural after all.”Joyce Carol Oates, The Rise of Life on Earth
Joyce Carol Oates has an amazing ability to transport her readers into the world she is writing about. It is something I’ve always admired about her and her writing style.
Once you have read it completely and everything fully sinks in, this is truly a horror story all the way through. I need some kind of warm and fuzzy read to cleanse my brain and my soul after reading The Rise of Life on Earth.
Have you read The Rise of Life on Earth or any other writing from author Joyce Carol Oates? Are you a fan? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
About the Author
Joyce Carol Oates is the author of more than 70 books, including novels, short story collections, poetry volumes, plays, essays, and criticism, including the national bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys and Blonde.
Among her many honors are the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction and the National Book Award. Oates is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University, and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978.
Purchasing The Rise of Life on Earth
If you are interested in buying the paperback version of The Rise of Life on Earth, click here.
Click here for the hardcover version.
Click here for my favorite Kindle I currently own.
More From Joyce Carol Oates
Did you enjoy my review of The Rise of Life on Earth? Need another Joyce Carol Oates novel to read? Here are my favorites!
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