Author(s): Joyce Carol Oates
Gus Vorhees is an eminent doctor at the Muskegee Falls Women's Center, Ohio. One morning as he arrives at the clinic, he is ambushed by a hardline Christian, Luther Dunphy, and shot dead. This action leaves in its wake two fatherless families: the Vorhees, who are affluent, highly educated, secular and pro-choice, and the Dunphys, their opposite on all counts. When the daughters of the two families - Natalie Vorhees and Dawn Dunphy - glimpse each other at the trial of Luther Dunphy, their initial response is mutual hatred. But their lives are tangled together forever by what has happened, and throughout the years to come and the events that follow - including the eventual execution of Luther Dunphy after years on Death Row - neither can quite forget the other. From one of the boldest and most compassionate of modern writers, this is a moving story set against the complex fabric of American society, a journey into family, politics, faith, class, suffering - and the depths of the human heart.
Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Medal of Humanities, the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Book Award, and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including We Were the Mulvaneys; Blonde, which was nominated for the National Book Award; and the New York Times bestseller The Accursed. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978.