Fiction Review: Cybele By Joyce Carol Oates

397341

CYBELE BY JOYCE CAROL OATES
DUTTON (PAPERBACK), 1979
204 PAGES

AUTHOR WEBSITE

AMAZON.UK

WHAT IT’S ABOUT

In this mordant allegory about deluded obsession, Joyce Carol Oates has transformed the earth goddess Cybele into a goddess of degenerative possession. Edwin Locke, a charming forty-year-old who has never quite found himself, falls easily into his first extra-marital affair. When the novelty wears wanes he seeks to revive his passion with others, submerging himself in a series of increasingly grotesque liaisons.

OPENING

There was a lover of min who worshipped me, and became reckless with his life, which was soon taken from him – more abruptly than I would have wished, and more cruelly, for I came to pity him in the end.

WHAT I THOUGHT

Cybele is a strange book to review. I enjoyed many things. I thought the characters and descriptions were spot on – typical of JCO’s writing. The writing is very rich and detailed and a hell of a lot happens in such a short novel. I liked the way lust and obsessive lust at that is played out in the novel. Edwin’s situation is recognisable – at first – we’ve all been burned by passion and obsession for someone. I really liked Edwin’s increasingly unhinged behavior. The book is uncomfortable reading at times as Edwin drifts into ever more bizarre affairs and sexual encounters. But! All of this gets a bit tiresome after a while. If Edwin had been obsessed with one woman and stalked her for example, this would have been more satisfying and believable. I just got a bit tired of Edwin’s pathetic sexual encounters. The ending is also quite horrific and utterly bizarre – not in a good way. The ending is hinted throughout the novel but the way this is executed is just weird. Cybele is not a great break or a terrible one it’s just not completely satisfying. The cover is also awful.

RATING

3 STAR RATING

Advertisements

One Comment Add yours

  1. I do love JCO but I hadn’t heard of this one before. Sounds strange, but still intriguing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s