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The Assassins: A Book of Hours

2.94  ·  Rating Details ·  64 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Hardcover, 568 pages
Published January 1st 1975 by Vanguard Press
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Sondra Wolferman
Aug 24, 2011 Sondra Wolferman rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Diehard JCO fans
Recommended to Sondra by: Library pick
A family falls apart after the political assassination of one of its members. The story unfolds in a series of interior monologues written from the points of view of the murder victim's widow and two brothers. The author reveals some interesting psychological insights into the nature of sibling rivalry in the relationship among the three brothers (and one sister) of this dysfunctional family. There are even some hints along the way that one or both brothers might have been involved in Andrew's m ...more
Robert Cage
Mar 02, 2015 Robert Cage rated it really liked it
I've been reading JCO's catalog in it's entirety (everything.... poetry, essays, short stories, anthologies, compilations) and this is by far the most difficult, hard-to-like work I've encountered.

That doesn't make it uncompelling, it's just slow-going so far. It seems to work better as a concept than in execution.

Told in three parts, all in first person stream of consciousness narration (you will choke on the ellipses alone), it details the lives of two brothers and the widow of a sort of righ
Kira Fisher
Mar 15, 2008 Kira Fisher rated it it was ok
Shelves: ireadyou
i'm reading JCO on the urging of my writing teacher, and i am really thankful that he bugged me, because she's pretty amazing. she's got a truly staggering volume of work available to the interested reader. i am disappointed that i chose this book first because i didn't love it, but i saw the kernels of what i *would* like, so i stopped part way.

this book has an insane, frantic energy to it, created by characters who are in crisis and wobbling between sanity and insanity, that made it unpleasant
Apr 12, 2009 Rachel rated it did not like it
Ugh. This particular combination of plot and character manages to ruin family, sex, politics, art, and religion. She certainly assassinates any redeeming aspects of contemporary (1970s) American society as well as any redeeming qualities in her characters. What she attempts to do with the writing is interesting, but the first section is almost unreadable because her narrator is insane. Although intentional, the style is choppy and annoying. The second and third sections smooth out considerably, ...more
Jan 16, 2016 Elizabeth rated it liked it
Narratives were hard to follow, but this book and its characters intrigued me enough to read more by Joyce Carol Oates. Some of the descriptions were exquisite and memorable while other elements were quickly forgettable. Not her best. Would recommend I'll Take You There or Marya.
Pamela Scott
I have mixed feelings about The Assassins: A Book of Hours. On the one hand I like it a lot but there are things that just left me cold. The Assassins: A Book of Hours is a difficult book to get on board with. The Assassins: A Book of Hours is a very bleak book, much bleaker that other JCO novels. Nothing good happens to anyone in this novel. The characters are all pretty awful even Andrew the man who was assassinated. Hugh is insane and his section of The Assassins: A Book of Hours was extremel ...more
Jul 20, 2014 Downward rated it it was ok
The Assassins is the story of three people dealing with the assassination of a former republican senator and major right wing intellectual. The senator's two brothers narratives bookend the widow's narrative, each following the other in the novel but dealing with the situation concurrently. As a technique this is strange because it forces the reader to view each concurrent entry through the knowlege of what appeared in the preceding, waiting for moments to overlap. I kept expecting for this to b ...more
Aug 19, 2009 Clifford rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2009
The personality of three characters are similiar but different. Great job by Joyce to have each character stand out in their own way. A fourth character that is killed at the beginning appears throughout the book.
Robin Doll
Nov 24, 2007 Robin Doll rated it liked it
In Invisible Writer it is said that Yvonne is dreaming in the very end of her part of the book. I don't see any suggestion of that anywhere! I had to make myself finish this book, the only part I liked was where we get a brief glimpse into her past. The rest of it is like watching paint dry.
Apr 02, 2009 Katherine rated it it was ok
What I read (i.e. didn't skim) was just okay at best.
Dec 26, 2011 Jill marked it as to-read
My aunt just gave me a stack of Joyce Carol Oates paperbacks. This is one of them.
Stacy rated it really liked it
Aug 26, 2012
Donny rated it it was amazing
Jun 28, 2016
Geraldine rated it liked it
Aug 16, 2012
Thomas Rose-Masters
Thomas Rose-Masters rated it liked it
May 01, 2013
Susan Chehak
Susan Chehak rated it liked it
Aug 12, 2014
Bill rated it really liked it
Feb 21, 2010
Kyri Freeman
Kyri Freeman rated it liked it
Jan 16, 2016
Denise rated it did not like it
Oct 31, 2009
MC rated it liked it
Jun 11, 2013
Tyler Weaver
Tyler Weaver rated it it was amazing
Apr 05, 2015
Cameron Stevens
Cameron Stevens rated it liked it
Jul 12, 2012
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Jan 12, 2015
Tucker rated it really liked it
Sep 21, 2011
Jan 30, 2013 Anya rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
My first time reading stream of consciousness. Did not like.
Jim Leckband
Jim Leckband rated it liked it
Jan 03, 2016
Joe rated it liked it
Jan 04, 2017
Chadwick Saxelid
Chadwick Saxelid rated it it was ok
May 03, 2017
Christine rated it liked it
Jul 06, 2008
Readerskeeter rated it it was amazing
Jun 22, 2013
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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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