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About the Book

“Oates’ American saga captivates because it exists within an actual drama playing out across the country...Martyrs is a graceful and excruciating story of two families who do not live very far apart, but exist in different realities. ” --USA Today, 4-star review

“Successful because [Oates] refuses to satirize or dehumanize anyone, even murderous foes of abortion...With its wrath and violence, A Book of American Martyrs offers this teaspoon of warmth in these troubled times: that it is possible to be wrong without surrendering your humanity.”  --Los Angeles Times

“The most relevant book of Oates’s half-century-long career, a powerful reminder that fiction can be as timely as this morning’s tweets but infinitely more illuminating.” --Washington Post

A powerfully resonant and provocative novel from American master and New York Times bestselling author Joyce Carol Oates

In this striking, enormously affecting novel, Joyce Carol Oates tells the story of two very different and yet intimately linked American families. Luther Dunphy is an ardent Evangelical who envisions himself as acting out God’s will when he assassinates an abortion provider in his small Ohio town while Augustus Voorhees, the idealistic but self-regarding doctor who is killed, leaves behind a wife and children scarred and embittered by grief.

In her moving, insightful portrait, Joyce Carol Oates fully inhabits the perspectives of two interwoven families whose destinies are defined by their warring convictions and squarely-but with great empathy-confronts an intractable, abiding rift in American society. 

A Book of American Martyrs is a stunning, timely depiction of an issue hotly debated on a national stage but which makes itself felt most lastingly in communities torn apart by violence and hatred.

Educator and Librarian Resources

Critical Praise

“In this robust, relentless, inquisitive, and astutely balanced novel of social conflict, Oates portrays with unfailing nuance two troubled men on the opposite sides of the ever-fraught abortion-rights debate” —Booklist (starred review)

“The most relevant book of Oates’s half-century-long career, a powerful reminder that fiction can be as timely as this morning’s tweets but infinitely more illuminating.” —Washington Post

“Successful because [Oates] refuses to satirize or dehumanize anyone, even murderous foes of abortion...With its wrath and violence, A Book of American Martyrs offers this teaspoon of warmth in these troubled times: that it is possible to be wrong without surrendering your humanity.” —Los Angeles Times

“Oates’ American saga captivates because it exists within an actual drama playing out across the country...Martyrs is a graceful and excruciating story of two families who do not live very far apart, but exist in different realities. ” --USA Today, 4-star review —USA Today

“Oates reminds of an uncomfortable truth: The issue of abortion is so divisive and keenly felt precisely because of its messy moral and emotional questions.” —New York Times Book Review

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780062643049
  • ISBN 10: 0062643045
  • Imprint: Ecco
  • On Sale: 02/07/2017
  • Pages: 752
  • List Price: 36.99 CAD
  • BISAC1: FICTION / Psychological
  • BISAC2: FICTION / Literary
  • BISAC3: FICTION / Political

A Book of American Martyrs by Joyce Carol Oates

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