by Joyce Carol Oates (Fourth Estate) R316, 00 ISBN 978-0-00-738818-0
Joyce Carol Oates is the recipient of many English Awards. Her husband, Ray was also involved with English. It seemed like a communion of great minds. Until Joyce Carol Oates drove her very fit husband to the Princeton Medical Centre where he was diagnosed with pneumonia.
Both Joyce and Ray expected him to return home within a few days. Joyce was totally unprepared for the death of her soul mate. We all know loss and identify with her anguish, sheer confusion and loneliness of an empty house.
This is an unflinching portrayal of grief by a great writer.
My only comment is that it needed to be condensed. I accept that her grief was all consuming. I feel for her as I would for myself all the terrible things that you endure with grief. I think some losses are felt to be greater than others. The depth of their love for each other is so well written and the end pages are most interesting.
We all have secrets and Ray’s secrets were revealed after his death. His widow’s jealousy of his youthful past is surprising. But her sympathy for who he was, was filled with understanding. This is a very true portrayal of sadness when you lose the person you love the most in the world.