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Patricide: A Novella

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  288 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Roland Marks is a Nobel Prize winning novelist with a penchant for younger women and four marriages behind him. Lou-Lou Marks, his grown daughter, is a successful academic in her own right. But her real career lies in attending to her father. An egomaniacal and emotionally manipulative man, he demands of her absolute filial loyalty and an uncompromising acquiescence to his ...more
Kindle Edition, 98 pages
Published July 3rd 2012 by Ecco
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3.57  · 
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 ·  288 ratings  ·  37 reviews

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Aug 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
Carol Oates has crafted a story about a father and daughter relationship.
He is a celebrated writer and the author of a Nobel prize winning novel.
This is a strained relationship at times but the father and daughter have an understanding and have had some great moments in their lives.
She is not married or with kids and she seems to not want flee the household of her father and takes up the role helping administer his busy writing life.
The title of this novella is the name of the novel of which he
Jul 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-reads
We have met Roland Marks before. Phillip Roth wrote about a character just like him in "Exit Ghost." Self absorbed. Serial womanizer because he places his needs and vanity above the needs and welfare of his family. Seeking the attention of younger and younger women as he diminishes both physically and artistically and struggles with his increasing irrelevance.

The difference here is that the perspective is not of the aging literary lion---which tends to create sympathy for him. This beautifully w
Sep 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lovely, compact novel, closely focused. Rather like an extended short story. "Lou-Lou" is the narrator, the daughter of a great writer. He rarely offers her any praise for her part in his life, even though all of his wives and his other children have abandoned him to his self-centered ways. Roland Marks, the writer, is now in his seventies and is working with his daughter to sell his massive archive to the New York Public Library. He is hoping for a large sum from the sale, not least because o ...more
First of all, I must say that all my reviews contain spoilers. Personally, I prefer to read reviews after (and not before ) I read something so I tend to behave rather nilly-willy towards censoring in my reviews. This is a rarity for me to mark the review as containing a spoiler, but I must alert the reader...THIS REVIEW WILL SPOIL YOUR READINGS OF THE STORY.

I liked it quite a bit. I tend to like Oates stuff and it is an interesting complement to Rape:A Love Story (which also deals with similar
Aug 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, ebook, edelweiss
It's been a while since I've read any Oates, but as soon as I started reading this there was no mistaking her voice. Being a novella, this is very short, but she still manages to flesh out her characters pretty well. Essentially we come in on the final days of Roland Marks, as viewed by his daughter Lou Lou. An accomplished and intelligent woman, her obsession with her father's live eventually destroys her own, at least in part. If you enjoy Oates I recommend picking this up, but this is very mu ...more
Nov 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Which is worse, to be a downright terrible person with no regard for anything but his own satisfaction or a helplessly devoted, unappreciated, overlooked daughter? This novella explores the question in Oates' signature highly dramatic style.
Sep 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lot of this story about being a Father's daughter rang very true. Plus JCO writes so well, it is great to read anything she writes!
Paul Schatz
All telling. No showing. Feels like a draft for a story rather than a story.
Jan 10, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've always enjoyed Oates' storytelling techniques. She draws the reader in with dark and disturbing view of human nature.
Feb 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anna Luce
★★★★★ 5 stars

A short and pitch-perfect tale that focuses on a woman's relationship with her father. As per usual Oates is not afraid to explore the dark and nasty aspects of an individual's mind. In this case however I don't think her story is as grotesque as some of her other writing. Nor is she being gratuitously morbid. Lou's thoughts are not as disturbing as one might think, in fact, I believe that we are made to really understand her actions throughout the course of this story. Roland, Lou'
Todd Sullivan
One of the weaker of Joyce Carol Oates works, based on the limited experience I have with her books (I've only read two or three before this). In part, I think, it's because it's short, and in part it's because the conclusion is fairly obvious from early on in the book. It's in the denouement that something truly interesting happens, something unexpected, that makes all that came before worthwhile.
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
maybe i'm a bad person but i loved the ending
Nov 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a story that explores a father daughter relationship.
Luci Brehm
Mar 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017

I'm not sure how I feel about this book. At first, I felt sorry for the daughter. I actually walked away not liking her, not liking her father. The only character I had any feeling for was the final fiancee, but even those feelings are mixed. Read if you must, but, I'm not sure you'd enjoy it.
Jim Leckband
Aug 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novella is like the half-sibling of Mudwoman which was published at nearly the same time. Both have female protagonists of a certain age who are university deans or presidents. But Mudwoman M. R. Neukirchen is sympathetically portrayed by Oates, while (unsurprisingly, given the title) "Patricide"'s is a meaty helping of unreliable narrator nastiness.

The narrator, Lou-Lou (named for Lou-Andres Salome, dominatrix of Nietszche's!), is protective of her famed Nobel prize winner father Roland Ma
Underground Book Reviews
In Patricide, Oates builds characters so brutally real they firmly cement the reader in place. I was unable to tear my eyes off the pages. Oates shows us several reasons why certain women dig jerks, especially “brilliant” jerks, and why these women are so ready to make themselves human footstools. Frankly, Oates is brutally unkind to her gender in this novella, but I can only assume it’s an honest analysis. She seems to say that women often change who they are to adapt to the men they love once ...more
Tanja Walker
Apr 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Joyce Carol Oates is always interesting, and always thought provoking, and this one is no exception. However, I did not find much psychological "horror" in this book. While the first person narrator, the ever-single, ever-devoted daughter of a very famous novelist in the sunset of his career, is certainly not a reliable narrator, I'm not sure I doubt her version of what actually happens, only her perception of what happens. And that, to me, is what keeps the book from being, shall I say, grippin ...more
Sunny Shore
Apr 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read this novella in a few hours. What I love about JCO: if she knows a book should be short - she makes it short. I was warm and comfy knowing that this is typical JCO style which I love. Her characters are like no other. Almost to the point of dysfunctional and crazy, they appear normal to society. She does this on any level from university president to serial killer. This is not her only trademark, but just one of many amazing ones. In this one, a woman is obsessed with her world renowned w ...more
This book has disturbed me. Written well enough and intriguing to drive me to read to the end, though really I skimmed some pages cos it was just waffle.
But er... A woman's fascination and obsession with her father's life so strong it borders on incestuous.

Yeah... I suppose if nothing else it's given me something quick to read whilst I hide out in my room with Fightstar blaring out through headphones.
Will she kill him? This novella tells the story of a single, middle-aged woman who has essentially lost her sense of self due to her obsession with trying to be the center of her narcissistic father's world. It will never happen of course, and therein lies the rub. The moment I finished the book I decided I didn't really like it, but then I found myself ruminating on the story, and Lou-Lou, all day, which ultimately says a lot for the storytelling.
Tim Petersik
Aug 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Middle-aged Lou-Lou loves her Nobel-winning father despite the fact that he has ego issues. At times she even imagines his accidental death. When it happens as she imagined, her world is changed...along with the world of his lover, who happens to be about 50 years younger than he. This is a character study more than a story, and like most of Oates' work, it's insightful and worth the read.
May 15, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Novella with an unreliable narrator that reflects on that narrator's relationship with her womanizing writer father, a potential fifth wife, and the weight of his literary legacy. A tight plot and fairly humorous conclusion.
seshie Hargett
I usually adore everything by Joyce Carol Oates... however, this one was just "okay" I think i expected more from the title, and it just sort of landed flat for me. Compared to her other work, I consider this to be on the weaker end.
Nov 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Joyce Carol Oates is a favorite of mine. Her writing has its ups and downs, considering how prolific she is that is certainly to be expected. This little novella is exquisite. If you are a woman "of a certain age" and experience, I recommend you try it, you'll like it.
Jun 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pop-lit
Sharp, insightful, and unexpectedly psychological, Patricide is told from the point of view of a famous author's adult daughter as she allows us a window into her relationship with him as his daughter, a woman, and intellectual.
Sheila Winters
I loved Mudwoman, but was not wowed by Patricide. I would have liked this more had I not read Mudwoman. The central female characters were too similar to be interesting.
Margot Note
I love how Oates flips the script on a typical Philip Roth book, making the elderly, blowhard author the villain.
Ted Cornwell
Apr 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Interesting tale of a famous writer (seems reminiscent of Saul Bellow), his daughter and his much younger fiance. Lots of room for jealousy and intrigue.
Oct 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Always enjoy reading her work. I actually got to work with her once, doing an over-the-phone interview for a National Book Month radio spot.
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2015 Reading Chal...: Patricide by Joyce Carol Oates 3 10 Jul 10, 2015 12:02PM  

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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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