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Extended Audio Sample Blonde, by Joyce Carol Oates Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (4,012 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Joyce Carol Oates Narrator: Jayne Atkinson Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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She was an all-American girl who became a legend of unparalleled stature.  She inspired the adoration of millions, and her life has beguiled generations of fans and fellow artists.  The story of Norma Jeane Baker—better known by her studio name “Marilyn Monroe”—has been dissected for more than three decades, but never has it been captured in a narrative as breathtaking and transforming as Blonde.

In her most ambitious work to date, Joyce Carol Oates, one of America’s most distinguished writers, reimagines the inner, poetic, and spiritual life of Norma Jeane Baker—the child, the woman, the fated celebrity—and tells the story in Norma Jeane’s own voice: startling, rich, and shattering.

Drawing on biographical and historical sources, Joyce Carol Oates evokes the distinct consciousness of the woman and the unsparing reflection of the myth, writing as she has never written before—ecstatic, completely absorbed, inhabited as if by the spirit of her extraordinary subject. Rich with psychological insight and disturbing irony, this mesmerizing narrative illumines Norma Jeane’s lonely childhood, wrenching adolescence, and the creation of “Marilyn Monroe.” 

With fresh insights into the heart of a celebrity culture hypnotized by its own myths, Blonde is a sweeping novel about the elusive magic of a woman, the lasting legacy of a star, and the heartbreak behind the creation of the most evocative icon of the twentieth century.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Oates’ achievement is remarkable because the immediate, visceral impact of Monroe’s image is so very much a phenomenon of film, defying the inward-looking, speculative mind of literature…If a novel can't deliver Monroe’s beauty, a force that profoundly shaped how people behaved toward her, it can, better than any film, give us her interior world.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “A true mythic blowout, in which Marilyn is everything and nothing.”

    GQ

  • “A fascinating imagining of the hellish battles that Monroe fought with herself.”

    Playboy

  • “An overwhelmingly vivid and powerful rendering of a human being who outlived her life.”

    New York Review of Books

  • Blonde itself is impressive; an eerie, gossipy, voyeuristic experience. Enticing, but also devastating.”

    Barnes & Noble, editorial review

  • “Oates’ precise and inspired writing is close to witchcraft. With mastery, she unravels the story of a mythical blonde.”

    Jeanne Moreau

  • A 2000 National Book Award Finalist
  • A 2001 Pulitzer Prize Finalist

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Sunny Shore | 2/13/2014

    " Loved this book....knew a lot about Marilyn, having read 2 bios of her and she has always fascinated me, remembering her movies and death in '62, when I was almost 10. I was wary of reading this fictional version,but it did not disappoint. I knew all the players and this fact enhanced the fictionalized version of Marilyn's life. So many emotions as I read this novel about a lost little girl growing into an extremely lonely and insecure woman. JCO's writing is beautiful and having one of my favorite authors writing a novel about the life of a celebrated,but misunderstood icon of the 20th century was just perfection for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Melanie | 2/1/2014

    " Another incredible accomplishment. I never thought I would find Marilyn Monroe so fascinating and so sympathetic. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Cindy Lofgren | 1/23/2014

    " The reason I gave this book 2 1/2 stars is because it is just way too lengthy. I felt like I had to trudge through the first half and put it down on many occasions for an emotional breather. The second half of the book - wow. I couldn't put it down. Norma Jeane lived such a short life and so many assumptions are made about her. I thought Joyce Carol Oates was kind to her in 95% of the book. I'm probably a sucker but I do believe she was "lost". She wasn't "born to be touched", but rather to touch others with her acting skills (who knows how far she could have gone with more training) and her one-of-a-kind personality and, of course, beauty. Her method acting seemed to play into her schizophrenic tendencies. I also believe the Kennedy conspiracy. I'm thinking that her death in the book wasn't too far from the actual way she died. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Coral | 1/23/2014

    " My first and last JCO book. I simply don't see what others do in her writing. It's awful! "

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