Carthage: A Novel
Joyce Carol Oates
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A mesmerizing novel that examines grief, faith, justice, and the atrocities of war through the story of a young girl's disappearance in a small adirondack town
Zeno mayfield's daughter has disappeared into the night, gone missing in the wilds of the Adirondacks. But when the community of Carthage joins a father's frantic search for the girl, they discover the unlikeliest of suspects—a decorated Iraq War veteran with close ties to the Mayfield family. As grisly evidence mounts against the troubled war hero, the family must wrestle with the possibility of having lost a daughter forever.
Carthage plunges us deep into the psyche of a wounded young corporal, haunted by unspeakable acts of wartime aggression, while unraveling the story of a disaffected young girl whose exile from her family may have come long before her disappearance.
Dark and riveting, Carthage is a powerful addition to the Joyce Carol Oates canon, one that explores the human capacity for violence, love, and forgiveness, and asks if it's ever truly possible to come home again.
Emails she received from Haley each day, or nearly. Hope you are well! We are doing pretty well here. Maybe come for supper sometime. Or we could meet somewhere. But such meetings were rare. Sabbath didn’t have a car and it was a distance for Haley to drive after one of her long workdays, for soon Haley was supplementing her full-time employment at the resort hotel with part-time work as a security guard at a shopping center. In a rotting Victorian house near the University of Florida campus
to be the custom that Zeno drove to a social event at which there was alcohol, and Arlette drove them back; then, it began to be a custom that Arlette drove both to the event and back home. Then, it began to be a custom that Arlette declined such invitations. With or without consulting Zeno. Social drinker. Not so bad as a solitary drinker! (Of course, Zeno was a solitary drinker, too. But no one knew.) (No one knew? Not likely.) It began to be a—kind of a—floating weirdness: a gaping
were dead and by that time their brains have rotted like Alzheimer’s. But if you say what you did with her could be the D.A. will drop the charge to manslaughter not homicide, that’s his call, could be the judge will give you twenty to life so you could be paroled in nine years—a pretty good deal considering what you did to that poor little girl, Corporal. You know and we know and you need to acknowledge it. And the girl’s family needs to be told and their minds put at ease. Everybody in Carthage
which are private. No female could understand. Even a female pretending not to be one of her sex like Juliet’s fierce-faced younger sister could not understand. You don’t show them any trophies just “picturesque” photos, trinkets, mementos, souvenirs. Nobody knew where Iraq was or had any knowledge of the country, you could buy Middle Eastern–looking jewelry or miniature African animals carved out of ivory in the Frankfurt airport, Indian shawls—who’d know the difference? First deployment, on
expression of affable scrutiny. “Some men get paroled from Orion, they’re hired right-away by furniture companies—ain’t no problem them getting back in the job market.” Next, the Lieutenant led his charges on a hike uphill. Soon a number of the tour-visitors were panting. At the corner of a high gaunt building they were led abruptly left, and down an incline—in front of them, a sudden expanse of open land, part-pavement and part-scrubby grassland, the “Yard.” The civilians stared.