As if whoever it was held that camera was her closest friend. Or maybe it was the camera that was her closest friend.

Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates

Profession: Author
Nationality: American

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It was Corinne's secret belief that her daughter was a far finer person than she was herself, a riddle put to her by God. I must become the mother deserving of such a daughter—is that it?

The innocence of such children doesn't answer our deepest questions about this vale of tears to which we are condemned, but it helps to dispel them. That is the secret to family life.

My governing principle as a critic is to call attention solely to books and writers that merit such attention, and to avoid whenever possible reviewing books negatively except in those instances in which the negative is countered by an admiring consideration of earlier books by the same author.

A mouth of no distinction but well practiced, before I entered my teens, in irony. For what is irony but the repository of hurt? And what is hurt but the repository of hope?

I would suggest the widow do things the husband used to do, so he seems to be there with you. You will feel like just going to bed. It's so wonderful, going to bed.

He was ugly, himself. Weird-ugly. But ugliness in a man doesn't matter, much. Ugliness in a woman is her life.

When people say there is too much violence in my books, what they are saying is there is too much reality in life.

The relationship between parents and children, but especially between mothers and daughters, is tremendously powerful, scarcely to be comprehended in any rational way.

My self is all to me. I don't have any need of you.

There should really not be anything gratuitous in a work of art. Sometimes what seems as if it's gratuitous may be a passage in which a character is being characterized so that the reader comes to know him or her better.

Messes are made by people who want but don't know what they want, let alone how to get it.

Momma used to say, you got to know when to move. More important than knowing when to stay put.

My theory is that literature is essential to society in the way that dreams are essential to our lives. We can't live without dreaming - as we can't live without sleep. We are 'conscious' beings for only a limited period of time, then we sink back into sleep - the 'unconscious.' It is nourishing, in ways we can't fully understand.

What is "technique" but the absence of passion?