Title Profile & Character Information

We Were the Mulvaneys

Annotation
The firstOprah Book Club®selection of 2001!

ANew York TimesNotable Book

"It's the novel closest to my heart…. I'm deeply moved thatOprah Winfreyhas selected this novel for Oprah's Book Club, a family novel presented to Oprah's vast American family."
--Joyce Carol Oates

Moving away from the dark tone of her more recent masterpieces, Joyce Carol Oates turns the tale of a family struggling to cope with its fall from grace into a deeply moving and unforgettable account of the vigor of hope and the power of love to prevail over suffering. The Mulvaneys of High Point Farm in Mt. Ephraim, New York, are a large and fortunate clan, blessed with good looks, abundant charisma, and boundless promise. But over the twenty-five year span of this ambitious novel, the Mulvaneys will slide, almost imperceptibly at first, from the pinnacle of happiness, transformed by the vagaries of fate into a scattered collection of lost and lonely souls. It is the youngest son, Judd, now an adult, who attempts to piece together the fragments of the Mulvaneys' former glory, seeking to uncover and understand the secret violation that occasioned the family's tragic downfall. Each of the Mulvaneys endures some form of exile- physical or spiritual - but in the end they find a way to bridge the chasms that have opened up among them, reuniting in the spirit of love and healing. Profoundly cathartic, Oates' acclaimed novel unfolds as if, in the darkness of the human spirit, she has come upon a source of light at its core. Rarely has a writer made such a startling and inspiring statement about the value of hope and compassion.


Awards
1996  Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year

Characters
NameMulvaney, Mike
GenderMale
OccupationRoofing company owner
TraitsMarried
Father

NameMulvaney, Corinne
GenderFemale
OccupationAntiques dealer
TraitsMarried
Mother

NameMulvaney, Mike Jr. "Mule"
GenderMale
OccupationStudent

NameMulvaney, Patrick "Pinch"
GenderMale
OccupationStudent

NameMulvaney, Marianne
GenderFemale
OccupationStudent

NameMulvaney, Judd
GenderMale
OccupationStudent

GenreDomestic
Saga
    --Family
Psychological
Fiction
TopicsUpper classes
Family relationships
Estranged families
Family secrets
Life changes
Rape
Violence
Denial
Alcoholism
Scandal
Revenge
Redemption
SettingMount Ephraim, New York
Upstate New York
Small town
Farm
High Point Farm