Although this work shows Oates in surprisingly good early form, her sentences don't have the rich roll of her later work. I feel had she written the same plot today, she could have accomplished it in fewer pages with much richer language. Also some of the more squalid details she could have presented with less shock value (See "because it is bitter..." for a great example of what I mean). She wrote this when she was only 30 and it gives every indication of the master she was to become. In my opinion, Oates is the greatest living female novelist in English.
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