Sunday, September 28, 2014


I love most books by Joyce Carol Oates and Carthage was no exception.  Ms. Oates does such a
wonderful job exploring her characters and getting into some of the dark side of those characters!

Carthage is the name of the small town in the Adirondacks where one night 19-year-old Cressida Mayfield disappeared.  Cressida was the daughter of Zeno Mayfield, the former mayor of Carthage.  Cressida reminded me of those who have difficulty relating to others, and she appeared to feel that her family never loved her enough.  Her older sister, Juliet had been engaged to Brett, an Iraqi war veteran who had come home wounded, physically and mentally.  One night, unbeknownst to her family,  Cressida went out hoping to meet up with Brett.  She never returned home.  The book opens with The Search:

"That girl that got lost in the Nautauga Preserve.  Or, that girl that was killed somehow, and her body hid.
Where Zeno Mayfield's daughter had disappeared to, and whether there was much likelihood of her being found alive, or in any reasonable state between alive and dead, was a question to confound everyone in Beechum County.
Everyone who knew the Mayfields, or even knew of them.
And for those who knew the Kincaid boy-the war hero-the question was yet more confounding."
Because, it turned out, that Cressida had met up with Brett, and he was the last one to see her alive.  Her body was never found.  But Brett eventually confessed and was found guilty of her murder and sentenced to prison.

Jump ahead now to seven years later to Florida where Sabbath Mae McSwain was interviewing for a position as an intern for a psychologist/author.  The psychologist was currently researching and investigating conditions on death row for another book.

Carthage is focused on several themes.  The horrors of the after-effects of war, the tragedy of a grieving family who need answers, forgiveness, love and finally, can one ever go home again? 

Another great book by a great author.  I missed reading The Accursed by Oates, which came out before Carthage, so I need to add that one to my to-be-read list!

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