A Garden of Earthly Delights
"Protean and prodigious are surely the words that describe Ms. Oates. From the very beginning, as these impressive and diverse novels make clear, her talents and interests and strengths have never found comfort in fashionable restraint. She's sought, instead, to do it all -- to face and brilliantly, inventively transact and give shape to as much of experience as possible, as if by no other means is a useful and persuasive gesture of moral imagination even conceivable. For us readers these are valuable books." -- Richard Ford
"These four novels reveal Oates' powers of observation and invention, her meticulous social documentation joined to her genius for forging unforgettable myths. She is one of the handful of great American novelists of the last hundred years. " -- Edmund White
"This rich, kaleidoscopic suite of novels displays the young Joyce Carol Oates exercising her formidable artistic powers to portray a turbulent twentieth-century America. They offer the reader a singular opportunity to experience some of Oates's best writing and to witness her development, novel by novel, into one of our finest contemporary writers." --Greg Johnson, author of Invisible Writer: A Biography of Joyce Carol Oates
"As a young writer, Joyce Carol Oates published four remarkable novels, A Garden of Earthly Delights (1967), Expensive People (1968), them (1969), and Wonderland (1971). They were all nominated for the National Book Award, and Oates won the award for them in 1970....Reprinting the series in modern paperback editions nearly forty years after their composition allows us a new perspective on their collective meaning and illuminates their place in Oates's overall career...The Wonderland...
From the Inside Flap
In her second novel, Joyce Carol Oates, author of many bestselling novels, including We Were the Mulvaneys and Blonde, created one of her most memorable heroines, Clara, the beautiful daughter of migrant farmworkers. Intent upon rising above her haphazard life of violence and poverty, Clara struggles for independence while relying on four men to fashion her destiny: her father, a hardened laborer simmering with resentment; Lowry, who rescues the teenage Clara from her family and offers her a first glimpse of love; Revere, the wealthy married man who promises Clara stability; and Swan, Clara's son, who bears the burden of his mother's mistaken identity.
For this Modern Library 20th Century Rediscovery edition, Joyce Carol Oates has revised and rewritten three fourths of the novel, originally published in 1966, a feat comparable to Henry James's revisions of his early novels in 1908, when he was at the height of his artistic powers. With a new Afterword by the author, this is the definitive edition of an early masterpiece by one of our greatest living writers.