The Lost Landscape

Joyce Carol Oates

In The Lost Landscape, Joyce Carol Oates vividly recreates the early years of her life in western New York state, powerfully evoking the romance of childhood and the way it colors everything that comes after. From early memories of her relatives to remembrances of a particularly poignant friendship with a red hen, from her first friendships to her first experiences with death, The Lost Landscape is an arresting account of the ways in which Oates’s life (and her life as a writer) was shaped by early childhood and how her later work was influenced by a hard-scrabble rural upbringing.

In this exceptionally candid, moving, and richly reflective recounting of her early years, Oates explores the world through the eyes of her younger self and reveals her nascent experiences of wanting to tell stories about the world and the people she meets. If Alice in Wonderland was the book that changed a young Joyce forever and inspired her to look at life as offering endless adventures, she describes just as unforgettably the harsh lessons of growing up on a farm. With searing detail and an acutely perceptive eye, Oates renders her memories and emotions with exquisite precision to truly transport the reader to a bygone place and time, the lost landscape of the writer’s past but also to the lost landscapes of our own earliest, and most essential, lives.

Reviews of The Lost Landscape

  • ‘A compelling and at times mysterious testimony to a life of letters like no other I know’ Richard Ford

    ‘Every piece merits re-issue … works effectively as a continuous memoir … here and there we glimpse the gothic seam Oates has since mined in her fiction’ Suzi Feay, Financial Times

    Praise for Joyce Carol Oates:

    ‘[Joyce Carol Oates] is simply the most consistently inventive, brilliant, curious and creative writer going, as far as I’m concerned’ Gillian Flynn, author of “Gone Girl”

    ‘Joyce Carol Oates is a writer who always takes your breath away’ Mail on Sunday

    ‘Oates is a writer of extraordinary strengths. Her great subject, naturally, is love’ Guardian

    ‘Oates is an inspired writer, and a formidable psychologist. She has a thrilling way of grasping an emotion, wasting no time and launching herself straight at the aching heart of the matter’ Independent

    ‘Oates’s prose contains a deep felt rawness which hovers between hope, despair and love’ Guardian

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