Missing Mom by Joyce Carol Oates

By Joyce Carol Oates

From Joyce Carol Oates comes this candid, intimate, attractive, and private new novel.

Nikki Eaton, unmarried, thirty-one, sexually liberated, and economically self-supporting, hasn't ever rather considered herself as a daughter. but, following the unforeseen lack of her mom, she undergoes a striking transformation in the course of a tumultuous 12 months that brings beautiful horror, sorrow, illumination, knowledge, or even -- from an unforeseen resource -- a nurturing love.

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How am I still here then? I couldn’t swim when I was five. ” His voiced droned as if in a trance, just another story told to a stranger at closing time. “God, I liked her. She was this tasty blonde-haired doll. Teeny, high voice. Swear if you stuck a finger in her, she’d squeak. Family had a cottage up the road. We were in her room, her parents out somewhere. I had my hand up her shirt. She was one of those pristine Catholic girls, so it was a big deal just getting to second base. ” He sighed with fond remembrance.

I don’t like being plugged in to someone’s beck and call. I didn’t own a computer. Rarely used the Internet for anything. Didn’t even have an email address. At least not one I ever checked. I didn’t have time to sit on my ass playing video games or ogling pictures of naked women. I was too busy busting my ass to keep my head above water. LAMENTATION 33 I could picture this business of his. A gang of pasty dope fiends gacking over circuit boards and Legend of Zelda, or whatever nerds played these days.

I kept a stash of candy in my glove compartment. His mother wouldn’t approve, but she wasn’t around, was she? And I wasn’t one of those fathers who bought into all that new-age parenting bullshit. No sugar. No TV. A forced regimen from the crib through college. My parents didn’t do that with us, and we turned out all right. Well, at least one of us did. The snow that had fallen was the wet, heavy kind—perfect for snowballs and stacking—and several snowmen, in various states of construction, dotted the knoll.

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