American Appetites by Joyce Carol Oates
Picador (paperback), 1989
Affluent American suburbia – a world in which Ian and Glynnis McCullough are both admired and entirely at home; regarded, after 26 years of marriage, as the embodiment of the American Dream. But, beneath the surface, there are cracks in the marriage. And it takes only one moment of irrevocable violence to shatter their idyllic community and turn the Dream into a nightmare.
What is destiny – a mechanical fact, a theoretical possibility, a concept, a superstition, a mere word?
I read this for the ‘a book you started by never finished’ category of my Popsugar Reading Challenge 2015. This is my final book for the challenge.
American Appetites was very enjoyable. This one of JCO’s earlier novels. I enjoyed the way the novel explored relationships and appearances. Everyone who sees the McCullough’s believes they are the perfect all-American couple. I loved how JCO peeled back the layers revealing the mess that lay at the heart of the marriage. I like reading about people’s lives falling apart. The moment of violence is very dramatic and well written without being over the top. JCO knows how to write, how to vividly bring her characters and their world to life. I didn’t feel a lot of sympathy for any of her characters though. I could help thinking Ian got what he deserved. This dampened the enjoyable of an otherwise accomplished novel.