Judy's Reviews > The Falls

The Falls by Joyce Carol Oates
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's review
Feb 25, 2008

liked it

first read Oates in a Modern American Lit class in college, and have read several of her novels and short stories since then with varying degrees of enjoyment. This one is an interesting study of a family that seems trapped in an uncontrollable downward spiral. It involves two suicides committed at Niagara Falls, one near suicide, and the exposure of the Love Canal contamination near the Falls. In brief, a woman marries a preacher, who commits suicide the day after their wedding. She then marries the attorney who comes to her aid in the ensuing investigation and together they have three children. However, when he gets involved in exposing the Love Canal dumping grounds, the results are catastrophic for the family, and each member begins to slowly self-destruct. There are some fascinating psychological portraits, and in the end each character finds some level of peace and/or redemption. I enjoy Oates's style, but this book as a whole was a bit uneven for me, with large sections that I found slow and even melodramatic and others that were moving and gripping.
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