Night. Sleep. Death. The Stars
The bonds of family are tested in the wake of a profound tragedy, providing a look at the darker side of our society. Night Sleep Death The Stars is a gripping examination of contemporary America through the prism of a family tragedy: when a powerful parent dies, each of his adult children reacts in startling and unexpected ways, and his grieving widow in the most surprising way of all .Stark and penetrating, Joyce Carol Oates’s latest novel is a vivid exploration of race, psychological trauma, class warfare, grief, and eventual healing, as well as an intimate family novel in the tradition of the author’s bestselling We Were the Mulvaneys.
About the Author
Joyce Carol Oates is a novelist, critic, playwright, poet and author of short stories and one of America’s most highly respected literary figures. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including We Were the Mulvaneys, which was an Oprah Book Club Choice, and Blonde, which was nominated for the National Book Award. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of Humanities at Princeton University and a recipient of the National Book Award and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction.
This novel is about the soul and the heart of a family. John Earle “Whitey” McLaren is the patriarch of a well-situated American family. He witnesses police violence and intervenes, thus bringing himself into danger. He dies as a result of a severe injury leaving his wife and his five adult children without their center. Each child has to cope with his legacy, both on a material and figurative level, with their own position within the family and with their lives devastated by the death or their father. Jessalyn, the widow, has even more difficulties in finding her place back in reality. Over time, she learns to regain control over her goals and plans in life, which has an effect on the structure of the whole family.
Along with this family epos, Joyce Carol Oates drafts a picture of contemporary America and its current topics of resentment, inequality and racism. We look upon the story from the many different angles of the family members. Often they are in dialogue with the deceased “Whitey”, often in an inner dialogue (sometimes additional information is added in brackets). Night. Sleep. Death. The Stars describes how each family member copes and survives the loss of the family’s center and finds their new places for themselves in life and for their souls. Stadtbücherei Frankfurt am Main, Germany