My Heart Laid Bare

Chronicles the endeavors of the Licht family a clan of cheats, murderers, and con men from the late eighteenth century through the 1930s, and details the moral consequences of their crimes and transgressions.
My Heart Laid Bare Chronicles the endeavors of the Licht family a clan of cheats murderers and con men from the late eighteenth century through the s and details the moral consequences of their crimes and transgr

  • Title: My Heart Laid Bare
  • Author: Joyce Carol Oates
  • ISBN: 9780452280069
  • Page: 261
  • Format: Paperback
  • 1 thought on “My Heart Laid Bare”

    1. God, JCO. I do love you. I wanted this book to be epic. There were times, mostly in the first half, where I genuinely believed this was going to be a brilliant novel. There were times when I just couldn't put it down—when I got so wrapped up in schemes and reveals and characters' motivations that I would whip through 50 pages in one sitting (a lot for me, for those of you tsk-tsking). But every time I hit one of these 50-page runs, they were eventually followed by another 50 pages that took me [...]

    2. This tale of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century escapades of a family of con artists is a departure for Oates in terms of its setting, if not its theme and tone. More known for tough, tragic stories set in the contemporary world or the recent past, Oates takes advantage of the sweep and turbulence of the decades on either side of 1900 to address classic themes: love, loss, ambition, envy, loyalty, betrayal, and the myriad other forces that draw families together and pull them apart. [...]

    3. My Heart Laid Bare is a creation from an epic imagination — what a beautiful thing for a writer to enjoy, especially to use it to produce something so grand is a labor of love. Joyce Carol Oates is quite the creative dynamo — I’ve lost count of how many stories she’s written, and I have yet to buy let alone read all of them. One thing for sure, she loves words, she comes out to play with them; part of her process is becoming possessed by the story that she must tell — wringing out ever [...]

    4. This is my first introduction to Oates. It is a period piece set in the early 1900's. I'm hoping she purposely chose to write in a style that was indicative to the times. If this is how she normally writes I'm going to have a tough time with her other books. The book is about a family of con-artists that stumbles through life hoping to achieve infinite wealth and stumbling along the way. They are never honest with anyone or even themselves making the title ironic. Their plots and schemes are cer [...]

    5. I have a feeling Joyce Carol Oates doesn't have a very high opinion of society. Her characters (across many of her novels) tend not to be likable but that's what makes them so realistic. She delves deep into their inner monologues, revealing their most heinous and perplexing thoughts. I love it. Combined with a damn good story (a family of con artists in the early 20th century), this is easily my favorite Oates novel. Even despite the number of times she utilizes the word "breathless." Seriously [...]

    6. I can't give it a proper synopsis because I read it quite some years ago. However, it is my favorite book ever. I concede that the first few chapters are hard to get through because they seem so disconnected. Everyone I've given it to I advised to just try to get through to chapter 5 and you will be hooked. It was such a sweeping, epic novel and the intricacies of all the family members was astounding. Such a fantastic book! It really should be on required reading lists, if not in high school, t [...]

    7. thebookloversboudoir.wordpresI really didn’t enjoy My Heart Laid Bare. I’m disappointed as JCO is one of my favourite writers.The blurb sounds like it would be a great read. There are times the book is decent.The main issue I had was with the language used. It is very dense and old-fashioned which made it a bit of a slog to get through. There’s too much detail and information dragged out in painstaking detail across pages and pages that I was bored most of the time. I could not wait to slo [...]

    8. Wow. This book. This. Book.This book is AMAZING, but I wouldn't wish it on anyone. I wouldn't say, "You should read this." Because it's hard, it's thick with stylistic goo (oftentimes tasty, other times too much), and it's dark. The title is apt. This story is raw and gorgeous, so many layers. It's rough on the spirit, rough on the eyes (truly, it's a bit too long), rough on the brain I physically squirmed at times, and my brow was often furrowed, I'm told. But damn, if you're feeling masochisti [...]

    9. During the first chapter I began to question whether or not to continue reading. The author babbles on and on and on, 22 pages describing the setting (a horse race) and the people attending all in painful, verbose detail. Almost put it down again when she takes six loonngg paragraphs describing a swamp and she uses the same words over and over-a place where this, a place where that-a place where theyuntil you're ready to scream "Oh come on! Enough is enough!" She seems enamored of repetition thr [...]

    10. i am on a jco kick and it may last for a long time. i said the following about thomas wolfe years ago when i was on a tw kick. when you read him,her, you don t have to read anything else because he or she will write about everything eventually. jco does this in this book. she writes about nearly every current topic that one must be concerned about in order to help our society progress. read and learn as i do while reading her.

    11. I've long been aware of Joyce Carol Oates, but hadn't read her. Perhaps this wasn't the one to start with because I could not get into it. I found the repetitive writing style irritating as details keep showing up in paragraph after paragraph. So if anyone can recommend a different Oates book, let me know!

    12. have always meant to read her and a bunch of her books. this is a start. slow start but then really good. 3.5. took a week to read though

    13. Finally returned to print in a beautiful paperback edition, a haunting gothic tale of a nineteenth-century immigrant family of confidence artists—a story of morality, duplicity, and retribution that explores the depths of human manipulation and vulnerabilityThe patriarch of the Licht family, Abraham has raised a brood of talented con artists, children molded in his image, and experts in The Game, his calling and philosophy of life. Traveling from one small town to the next across the continent [...]

    14. While I did enjoy this novel, I found it struggled to consistently retain my attention. Set around the turn of the last century, Heart is about a confidence man and a confidence family. Interesting character observations revolve around the lives of the children and their intricate, unpredictable and often volatile relationship with the father and protagonist. There is a subtle subtext how powerful parental influence is; equally in harmony as in dissent. Though fictionalized and contemporarily au [...]

    15. A great read! I not only enjoyed the process of reading this book, but the story was fantastic as well! The use of language and word craft was spectacular. In one passage, describing a swamp, the author slings out a few 150 word sentences. The reader is forced to take in the description of the surroundings all at once - and is left somewhat breathless. The story of the confidence artist and his family was so engaging. By the middle of the book, I couldn’t help wondering where they would turn u [...]

    16. "The Game is never to be played as if it were but a game when it is in fact life."I had a hard time getting into the book, but I have read so little from this time period that I wanted to keep going. At times the asides into different character's goings on made it hard to concentrate. Another theme I liked was a character's realization that when you get your wish you realize it's not really your wish and no longer true. For me the book is a growing-up tale about how family changes and even thoug [...]

    17. damn you depressing addictive lady. i'm so surprised she isn't compared to the faulkner school more often. or is she? she is faulkner meets magical realism. in my book anyway, she and louise erdrich are the only ones who can weave such spells and story snippets into a novelyway this is a novel emerging out of a series of erotic/mysterious con-artist tales, she really has mastered a 19th century voice of skepticism and voyeurism marvelously well. i'm barely 100 pages in and still am just learning [...]

    18. I just finished this recently. It was one of those books that took me a year to read because I kept putting it down and picking it up. The story is fantastic: turn-of-the-century American family of confidence men (and women) who hatch various daring schemes, not to make money, per se, but to prove their mastery of "The Game." The book is funny and cynical at times, but also deeply emotional and a little sad. My only complaint is that Oates's style here is a little convoluted and exhausting--it m [...]

    19. i enjoyed this book more than the other JCO books i've read, but i noticed i didn't want to finish it. she's so hard on her character, and i didn't want them all to end up destroyed and broken like i felt she was headed towards, so i stopped and i never finished. that says a lot about my own preferences in literature, but it also speaks to my prevailing sense of JCO as a bit of a downer. i seldom look forward to picking up a book that has no hope of ending well. i just don'td while i haven't rea [...]

    20. I read "We Were the Mulvaneys" by Joyce Carol Oates just last year and enjoyed her writing as well as the tale she wove, so when I saw this one at a used book store not long ago, I was interested. My Heart Laid Bare takes place in the late 19th early 20th century and tells the story of a brilliant, though tormented, con artist and the legacy he almost created through his seven children by at least four different women. He believed himself infallible, but didn't account for the free will of his p [...]

    21. Really engrossing story of a family of turn-of-the-century con artsits, some willing, some not but become willing - JCO is so good at writing fully formed characters. Even when they are less then likeable you still understand where they are coming from and why they may do the things they do. She certainly isn't a "magical realist" writer but her stories do seem to exist in an idealized world in some ways, which I like. People are still realistic but BETTER (or worse, in some cases.)

    22. There are so many reviews of this book, I just have to say the style is different from all her usual stuff and this novel is much more depressing than anything else she's written. I wasn't as in love with this novel as all the others. I would certainly advise people that have never read her work to start with anything else but this or they may be put off by her. It's not bad at all, it's just not her usual style that so many of us have come to love.

    23. I couldn't get into this book. I only liked one character. I kept reading thinking it would pique my interest at some point and never did. It's basically about a family who's father is a con artist and tries to teach his children the skills of the con artist. Mixed into that are mystical / magical occurances that seemed to me out of place. Not one of my best picks from the Falmouth Book Fair.

    24. Oates has written over 30 novels; I've read about half of them. She is a consummate pro - her prose seems effortless, but is still rich and peppered with good ideas. And her breadth of plot is admirable. What I particularly liked about this one is that she initiated several subplots along with the main plot, and brought all of them to a sound conclusion.

    25. This is one of Oates' more illustrious novels, one I would recommend to a newcomer looking to explore her work and worlds. Elucidates on themes of con artistry, family, race relations from England to the Mid-Atlantic Region in the late 1800s to Harlem in the '20srilliant prose and very quotable. I couldn't put this book down, something to get lost in.

    26. This was the first Joyce Carol Oates book that I've read. It's one of my favorite books of all time, but apparently a departure from Oates' usual work. I picked up several other Oates books after reading this one and didn't like any of them. So perhaps not the best book for fans of Oates, but great if you've never read any of her work before.

    27. Wow!! This was a great book and nothing like I've ever read. The plot and the style of writing really pulls you in. A bit stream of consciousness which takes a little getting used to but these characters will stick with you long after the book is done. 531 pages and still couldn't get enough of the story!!

    28. i just don't like oates. this was her third chance and even though i liked this better than the others i read i just can't get into her writing style. if anyone has a suggestion as to the BEST oates i would love to hear it. i REALLY REALLY REALLY wanted to like her because she has so much material out there that i figured she could keep me good and busy. but no such luck.

    29. One of the first books I read of JCO. I thought it was great. What I like about her, is that all her books are interesting! And well written. And sometimes dark. Very dark. And disturbing. Very disturbing. One great artist

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