I’ll Take You There

Joyce Carol Oates

‘In those days in the early 1960s we were not women yet but girls. This was, without irony perceived as our advantage.’ So begins ‘I’ll Take You There’, an astonishingly intimate and unsparing self-portrait of a young woman who comes of age in the most turbulent of American decades. ‘Anellia’ – as she sometimes calls herself – is a student at Syracuse University, the first time she has lived away from her family. Headstrong, passionate, occasionally obsessive, she is pitiless in exposing herself to her new life as she searches for a place in the world. In her quest for belonging, ‘Anellia’ discovers the risks, and curious rewards, of confronting the world: being taken in, and then cruelly rejected by a ‘sisterhood’ of her fellow students, falling recklessly in love with an older graduate student who happens to be black, making a journey westward when summoned by a figure from her past who she believed to be dead. Through this triptych of events, the atoms of ‘Anellia’s’ life comes together as she begins her journey into adulthood. This spellbinding novel confirms Oates as one of America’s most important writers. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our times. ‘I’ll Take You There’ is a deeply moving, wry, intense examination of how a girl becomes a young woman.

Reviews of I’ll Take You There

  • ‘Oates’ precise and inspired writing is close to witchcraft.’ Jeanne Moreau

    ‘This intense character study becomes a testament to spiritual resilience. It is an excellent addition to Oates’ formidable canon.’ Daily Telegraph

    ‘Maybe, just maybe, the Great American Novelist is a woman.’ The Herald

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