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The Wonderland Quartet Series

Joyce Carol Oates
A Garden of Earthly Delights by Joyce Carol Oates
them by Joyce Carol Oates
Wonderland by Joyce Carol Oates

The Wonderland Quartet Series : Titles in Order

Book 4
Joyce Carol Oates’s Wonderland Quartet comprises four remarkable novels that explore social class in America and the inner lives of young Americans. Spanning from the Great Depression to the turbulent Vietnam War era, Wonderland is the epic account of Jesse Vogel, a boy who emerged from a family tragedy with his life spared but his world torn apart. Orphaned after watching his father murder his entire family, Jesse embarks on a personal odyssey that takes him from a Dickensian foster home to college and graduate school to the pinnacle of the medical profession. As an adult, Jesse must summon the strength to reach across the “generation gap” and rescue his endangered teenaged daughter, who has fallen into the drug-infused 1960s counterculture.

Hailed by Library Journal as “the greatest of Oates’s novels,” Wonderland is the capstone of a magnificent literary excursion that plunges beneath the glossy surface of American life.

Wonderland is the final novel in Joyce Carol Oates’s Wonderland Quartet. The books that complete this acclaimed series, A Garden of Earthly Delights, Expensive People, and them, are also available from the Modern Library.

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Book 3
“If the phrase ‘woman of letters’ existed, [Joyce Carol Oates] would be, foremost in this country, entitled to it.”—John Updike, The New Yorker

As powerful and relevant today as it was on its initial publication, them chronicles the tumultuous lives of a family living on the edge of ruin in the Detroit slums, from the 1930s to the 1967 race riots. Praised by The Nation for her “potent, life-gripping imagination,” Joyce Carol Oates traces the aspirations and struggles of Loretta Wendall, a dreamy young mother who is filled with regret by the age of sixteen, and the subsequent destinies of her children, Maureen and Jules, who must fight to survive in a world of violence and danger.

Winner of the National Book Award, them is an enthralling novel about love, class, race, and the inhumanity of urban life. It is, raves The New York Times, “a superbly accomplished vision.”

Them is the third novel in the Wonderland Quartet. The books that complete this acclaimed series, A Garden of Earthly Delights, Expensive People, and Wonderland, are also available from the Modern Library.

[Oates is] a superb storyteller. For sheer readability, them is unsurpassed.”—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 
Book 2
Joyce Carol Oates’s Wonderland Quartet comprises four remarkable novels that explore social class in America and the inner lives of young Americans. In Expensive People, Oates takes a provocative and suspenseful look at the roiling secrets of America’s affluent suburbs. Set in the late 1960s, this first-person confession is narrated by Richard Everett, a precocious and obese boy who sees himself as a minor character in the alarming drama unfolding around him.

Fascinated by yet alienated from his attractive, self-absorbed parents and the privileged world they inhabit, Richard incisively analyzes his own mismanaged childhood, his pretentious private schooling, his “successful-executive” father, and his elusive mother. In an act of defiance and desperation, eleven-year-old Richard strikes out in a way that presages the violence of ever-younger Americans in the turbulent decades to come.

A National Book Award finalist, Expensive People is a stunning combination of social satire and gothic horror. “You cannot put this novel away after you have opened it,” said The Detroit News. “This is that kind of book–hypnotic, fascinating, and electrifying.”

Expensive People is the second novel in the Wonderland Quartet. The books that complete this acclaimed series, A Garden of Earthly Delights, them, and Wonderland, are also available from the Modern Library.
Book 1
A masterly work from a writer with “the uncanny ability to give us a cinemascopic vision of her America” (National Review), A Garden of Earthly Delights is the opening stanza in what would become one of the most powerful and engrossing story arcs in literature.

Joyce Carol Oates’s Wonderland Quartet comprises four remarkable novels that explore social class in America and the inner lives of young Americans. In A Garden of Earthly Delights, Oates presents one of her most memorable heroines, Clara Walpole, the beautiful daughter of Kentucky-born migrant farmworkers. Desperate to rise above her haphazard existence of violence and poverty, determined not to repeat her mother’s life, Clara struggles for independence by way of her relationships with four very different men: her father, a family man turned itinerant laborer, smoldering with resentment; the mysterious Lowry, who rescues Clara as a teenager and offers her the possibility of love; Revere, a wealthy landowner who provides Clara with stability; and Swan, Clara’s son, who bears the psychological and spiritual burden of his mother’s ambition.

A Garden of Earthly Delights is the first novel in the Wonderland Quartet. The books that complete this acclaimed series, Expensive People, them, and Wonderland, are also available from the Modern Library.
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