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A Book of American Martyrs

A Novel

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


“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.

From Publishers Weekly

Dec 12, 2016 – On Nov. 2, 1999 in Muskegee Falls, Ohio, a self-described "soldier of God" named Luther Dunphy loads a shotgun, drives to an abortion clinic near his home, and guns down Dr. Augustus Voorhees as he arrives at work. In this chilling novel, bestselling author Oates (Carthage) approaches one of America's enduringly divisive topics through the lens of a sprawling family epic. The bulk of the novel deals with the shooting's aftermath and its impact on the daughters of Dunphy and Voorhees two women whose lives are permanently shifted by their fathers' legacy for opposite sides of the contentious abortion-rights debate. Divided into five sections, the book begins by delving into the lives of Dunphy (now on death row) and Voorhees before the narrative finally coalesces around Naomi Voorhees's floundering attempts to understand her family, leading her to a career in documentary filmmaking and a surprising connection with Dawn "The Hammer of Jesus" Dunphy, whose anger and aggression propel her into a championship-level boxing career. Unfortunately, some of the emotional nuance is thinly developed, with the majority of the characters standing as archetypes of opposing worldviews. Nevertheless, Oates's sprawling tale presents a sensitively painted portrait of the inextricable quality of grief and the weight of family legacy, showing how unexpected connections can bind people together in counterintuitive ways.
A Book of American Martyrs
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  • $8.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Fiction & Literature
  • Published: Feb 07, 2017
  • Publisher: Ecco
  • Print Length: 752 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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