RARA-AVIS: Man Crazy

From: Michael Robison ( miker_zspider@yahoo.com)
Date: 22 Jan 2007

Just finished this short novel by Joyce Oates. It was recommended a long time ago on the list and I've had it for several years. If memory serves me correct, it was recommended by Jim Blue. Does anybody hear from Jim? I always liked his posts.

Man Crazy is a white trash novel about a low-rent woman addicted to a violent and deadly Vietnam veteran, and how she passes this addiction onto her daughter with less than desirable results. The mood is deep melancholy, similar to Didion's Play It As It Lays or Woolrich's I Married a Dead Man. The story is told by daughter Ingrid, and the world she describes seems muddled and lacking in detail unless she's talking about clothing. If this was purposeful, it was less than successful. I eventually got tired of her obsessive and continuous description of her scratching at herself. The ending was hopeful. And more than a little bit doubtful. Also, a novel that was as strongly negative about women as this was about men would be condemned as misogynistic.


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