Blonde

Joyce Carol Oates

Who was Norma Jeane Baker?

In ‘Blonde’ we are given an intimate, unsparing vision of the woman who became Marilyn Monroe like no other: the child who visits the cinema with her mother; the orphan whose mother is declared mad; the woman who changes her name to become an actress; the fated celebrity, lover, comedienne, muse and icon. Joyce Carol Oates tells an epic American story of how a fragile, gifted young woman makes and remakes her identity, surviving against crushing odds, perpetually in conflict and intensely driven. Here is the very essence of the individual hungry and needy for love: from an elusive mother; from a mysterious, distant father and from a succession of lovers and husbands. Joyce Carol Oates sympathetically explores the inner life of the woman destined to become Hollywood’s most compelling legend. ‘Blonde’ is a brilliant and deeply moving portrait of a culture hypnotised by its own myths and the shattering reality of the personal effects it had on the woman who became Marilyn Monroe.

Reviews of Blonde

  • ’Nobody has ever caught Marilyn more brilliantly in words than Oates.’ Sunday Times

    ’Oates has been fearless in taking on a subject that criss-crossed almost every important strand of mid twentieth century history…Apart from her, only Don Delillo, among today’s American novelists, and no one at all among today’s American women novelists, would be able to handle such a huge cast of imagined and real characters…A mighty – and a mesmerising – book.’ Literary Review

    ’This novel deserves a wide audience. “Blonde” is what whole shelvesful of Monroe biographies should be but are not – a fabulous reinvention of the life of a fabulous reinvention, a mirror on our collective vanities and a cracking page turner to boot.’ Evening Standard

    ’”Blonde” is an epic achievement, a masterpiece, a piece of art so shatteringly well-conceived and lavishly-wrought that at times it almost does not seem like a mere book…If this book doesn’t catapult Joyce Carol Oates into British best sellerdom, nothing will.’ Independent on Sunday

    ’Novelists such as John Updike, Philip Roth, Tom Wolfe and Norman Mailer slug it out for the title of the Great American Novelist. But maybe they’re wrong. Maybe, just maybe, the Great American Novelist is a woman.’ The Herald

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