Bellefleur Author:Joyce Carol Oates An elaborate series of interlocking tales of six generations of the Bellefleur family and more than a century of American history. By mingling actual historical events - such as the War of 1812, John Brown's abolitionist activities, and the building of the Erie Canal - with the magical and surreal, Joyce Carol Oates creates a world we recognize... more » from within our deepest selves, from somewhere in our childhoods, where "the American dream" in each of us was born.
A wealthy and notorious clan, the Bellefleurs live in a region not unlike the Adirondacks, in an enormous mansion on the shores of mythical Lake Noir. They own vast lands and profitable businesses, they employ their neighbors, and they influence the government. A prolific and eccentric group, they include several millionaires; a mass murderer; a spiritual seeker who climbs into the mountains looking for God; a wealthy noctambulist who dies of a kitten scratch; a young girl whose passion for her uncle can only be acted out on the silver screen; a brilliant boy-scientist; a baby, Germaine - the heroine of the novel - who is born with the lower half of her male twin protruding from her abdomen; a female vampire who, in her girlhood had a passionate but doomed affair; and a lovely young woman, Leah, Germaine's mother. After her daughter's birth, Leah finds an unexpected new power rising within her and sets about restoring the Bellefleur empire to its original glory. Meanwhile her husband, Gideon searches for his own satisfaction through the available masculine pleasures: horse racing, gambling, flying, womanizing, and hunting the Noir Vulture. As each of the Bellefleurs follows his passions toward his ultimate fate, the novel moves to its surprising and dramatic conclusion.
Rich, baroque, and haunting, Bellefleur may be considered the mythic culmination of Joyce Carol Oates's remarkable, on-going portrait of American life.« less