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The Rescuer

2.93  ·  Rating Details ·  129 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
Lydia is a graduate student in cultural anthropology—a fellow at a prestigious university, with a bright future ahead of her. Harvey, her brother, is a seminary student driven by his god-besotted studies. The two have never shared much of anything except a mutual desire to escape the stifling confines of the home they grew up in and the parents they left behind. But when L ...more
ebook, 208 pages
Published December 26th 2012 by Ecco
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Diane S ☔
May 15, 2013 Diane S ☔ rated it liked it
I have read a few books by this author and I know she has written many. In each book I have read of hers, the solid prose and insightful sentences are apparent, but her writing style is always different. This book was strange and like many of hers a trip to a darker side than we are comfortable with. She sort of turns her characters inside out, takes people successful in one way or another, and shows them falling for a lifestyle that is gritty and crude, as if under a respectable veneer there li ...more
Heidi Garrett
Mar 25, 2015 Heidi Garrett added it
Shelves: gritty, jco
Hmmm…I read this last night in one sitting—for a quick JCO fix. I’ve always said she’s a fierce writer, but this little novella was a strange and troublesome read for me. Depressing is the first word that comes to mind. The second thing that comes to mind is the 1993 Chinese drama, Farewell My Concubine. My mind always travels back to that movie when the main character of a film, book, etc descends deeper and deeper into the mire, never to surface again. Does that happen in real life? Well, look ...more
Jan 19, 2013 Sue rated it did not like it
Never having read one of Oates' books I was initially impressed by the wonderful, descriptive writing she uses. Unfortunately, almost half-way through this novella (lucky thing it is not a novel) I can't go on. I feel like I've been duped. The storyline, if you can call it at, is so stupid and too unbelievable. While I have no doubt that mental illness can drag people down into the depths of society, an intelligent person set on rescuing that person, brother or otherwise, would not willingly tak ...more
Nancy Evans
Jul 15, 2013 Nancy Evans rated it liked it
A very interesting book. This is definitely a book by Joyce Carol Oates. It looks at family ties but more importantly at the ties between a brother and a sister and the inner workings of that relationship. Lydia attempts to "rescue" her older brother and in so doing enters into his world of drugs, gangs and killing. In doing this she learns that he is HIV positive, something that he is trying to hide from himself and from her. Am not certain any one at all is rescued here but it's certainly a da ...more
Annie Jones
Jun 08, 2013 Annie Jones rated it really liked it
This novella is from the viewpoint of a young female scholar named Lydia who receives an imploring call from her parents to check on her brother, Harvey, who lives nearby. The rocky relationship between the siblings makes for a mildly awkward experience when she comes to live with her brother for a time. Lydia spends her time caring for Harvey, who has clearly let himself go for various reasons. A short, enveloping read that I truly enjoyed!
Beth Gordon
Apr 30, 2013 Beth Gordon rated it it was ok
It was a slightly odd novella. I think I was supposed to have taken away more than I did, but I don't quite know what it was supposed to have been.

You don't learn much about the main character Lydia. It seems as if she glides through life without much introspection at all.

The novella is more about Harvey, but we don't even get to learn much about WHY he is the way he is.

It's rather frustrating.

It seems as at least 1/3 of it describes smells and not even very well.

Jim Leckband
Mar 16, 2014 Jim Leckband rated it liked it
A sister in graduate school in anthropology(?) comes to inner city Trenton to care for her seminary drop out junkie brother. She is the "Rescuer", perhaps, but she does a poor job of it. However, her brother may be seen to be a rescuer of her to live a little tinier bit more authenticate life. The ending was enigmatic, the sister can't ever leave Trenton it seems, like a Kafka situation.
Nov 04, 2014 Freesiab rated it it was ok
I didn't realize this was a novella. The description made it sound very dark, which is what she's good at. What she isn't good at are novellas. Everything is going great, suspense, characters, secrets and an awkward end. I also didn't recognize her voice as much in this. Would have been a great novel.
Rachel Kuhn
Jul 14, 2013 Rachel Kuhn rated it it was ok
I've read a lot of Joyce Carol Oates and this is probably my least favorite. It's just odd beyond her usual books and ended kind of abruptly.
Joyce M. Tice
Aug 18, 2013 Joyce M. Tice rated it liked it
Liked it OK, but is it typically strange. Drifting, falling, getting lost and never found.
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Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Book Award and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction. She is also the recipient of the 2005 Prix Femina for The Falls. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University, and she has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978. Pseudonyms ... Rosamond Smith and Laure ...more
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