We Were the Mulvaneys

By

Publisher: HarperPerennial

3.8
(708)

Language: English | Number of Pages: 480 | Format: Paperback | In other languages: (other languages) German , Italian , French , Spanish

Isbn-10: 0007268394 | Isbn-13: 9780007268399 | Publish date: 

Also available as: Hardcover , School & Library Binding , Audio CD , Audio Cassette , Library Binding , Others , eBook

Category: Family, Sex & Relationships , Fiction & Literature

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Book Description
The Mulvanyes are seemlingly blessed by all that makes life sweet. They live together in the picture-perfect High Point Farm, just outside Mt Ephraim, New York, where they are respected and liked by everyone. But something happens pn Valentine's Day, 1976. An incident involving Marianne Mulvaney, the pretty sixteen-years-old daughter, which is hushed up in the town and never discussed within the family.The unspoken truths of that night rend the fabric of their family life with tragic consequences.
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  • 0

    Abbandonato dopo cento pagine

    Non fa per me, mi mette ansia, non voglio continuare a leggere quel che sarà di Marianne perché comunque si intusce.
    Il libro è tutto incentrato sui cattivi sentimenti che scaturiscono da una storia d ...continue

    Non fa per me, mi mette ansia, non voglio continuare a leggere quel che sarà di Marianne perché comunque si intusce.
    Il libro è tutto incentrato sui cattivi sentimenti che scaturiscono da una storia di violenza sessuale: senso di colpa e vergogna della vittima, paura del giudizio altrui dei suoi ipocriti genitori, chiacchiere e curiosità pruriginosa degli abitanti del paese bigotto in cui vivono.
    Di certo è raccontato tutto molto bene, è un continuo lanciare esche e poi parlare d'altro, ti fa salire una tensione acuta in attesa che si affronti finalmente il fattaccio... ecco, a me tutto questo mi fa star male ed è con grandissimo sollievo che ho deciso di mollarlo...

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  • 4

    What is a family, after all, except memories?

    No one of the Mulvaneys family would be able to name what had happened, or would wish to name it: rape was a word that came not to be spoken at High Point Farm.
    In fact this book can be divided in two ...continue

    No one of the Mulvaneys family would be able to name what had happened, or would wish to name it: rape was a word that came not to be spoken at High Point Farm.
    In fact this book can be divided in two parts: the ones before Marianne's rape and the ones after Marianne's rape.
    They were the Mulvaneys: Michael John Mulvaney Sr, the father, Corinne the mother, Mike Jr. Patrick, Judd (Judson Andrew the brothers and Marianne the sister.
    Judd is the narrator of the novel.
    He is an adult telling us his family's story.
    Judd Mulvaney, editor in chief of the Chautauqua Falls Journal.
    He hopes to be a neutral observer, at least one whose emotions have been scoured and exorcised with time, he wants to set down what is truth. Everything recorded here happened and it is his task to suggest how, and why; why what might seem to be implausible or inexplicable at a distance a beloved child's banishment by a loving father - like something in a Grimm fairy tale - isn't implausible or inexplicable from within.
    He includes as many "facts" as he can assemble and the rest is conjecture, imagined but not invented. Much is based upon memory and conversations with family members about things he had not experienced firsthand nor could possibly know except in the way of the heart. They Mulvaneys were joined at the heart.
    This document isn't a confession. Not at all.
    Jud has come to think of it as a family album. The kind his mom never kept, absolute truth-telling. The kind no one's mom keeps.
    From summer 1955 to spring 1980 when their parents were forced to sell the property there were Mulvaneys at High Point Farm, "Mulvaney" was a well-known name.
    For a long time people envied them, then they pitied them.
    The Mulvaneys were a family in which everything that happened to them was precious and everything that was precious was stored in memory.
    What is a family, after all, except memories?
    If memory didn't blur you wouldn't have the fool's courage to do things again, again, again that tear you apart.
    By 1976, when Judd was thirteen, High Point Farm was looking almost prosperous.
    The boss was their father.
    Michael Mulvaney came from a large Irish Catholic family of six boys and three girls in Pittsburgh; his father, a steelworker and a heavy drinker, had bullied his mother into submission young and slyly cultivated a game of pitting Michael and his brothers against one another. All the while Michael was growing up he'd had to compete with his brothers for their father's approval -his "love." At the age of eighteen he'd had enough. He quarreled with the old man, told him off, left home. So his father retaliated by cutting Michael out of his life permanently: he never spoke to him again, not even on the phone; nor did he allow anyone else in the family to see Michael, speak with him, answer any of his letters.
    Michael had re -imagined himself as a small-town American businessman who owned property, had money and influence, was "known" and "liked" and "respected" in his community.
    Michael was, in fact, a well-liked person in Mt. Ephraim.
    He'd been a loner in his late adolescence, and was then a "family man."
    Because he'd fallen in love with a girl strong enough to keep him faithful. And he'd wanted children with her as ballast, to keep his rocky little boat from careening off course, carried away by the first big swell. A son, another son, a daughter, and a third son. Their small limbs, warm and pulsing, unbelievable soft skin, faces eager with love for Daddy, for now he was Daddy that was who he was, holding him tight, holding him safe.
    God, he'd loved them! Those kids. The first baby, named for him, had scared him a little, the love came so strong, and the love for the woman, so strong, Look around, everybody's marrying young, it's an economic boom too, all the world's watching in awe, post-World War II United States of America
    The Mulvaneys who bore his name, not just the kids but the woman, too. In fact, he'd been the one to move away. Just took off, threw a few things in the car, moved to Yewville. Suddenly his little boat was in rough, unfriendly waters. Storm winds, heaving waves spinning him out of control. And there, above, on a bridge he'd have to pass under, there stood his father-his father he hadn't seen for alifetime! He recognized his father astonished that the man wasn't elderly but a man Michael's own age, his father was shouting at him, his voice forlorn yet angry, over these many years still angry,
    A father's curse! Michael Mulvaney Sr. had lived his entire adult life in the wake of his father's curse.
    So he'd sent his own daughter away, not with a curse but in the name of love.
    Seeing her dad, Marianne could not look at him directly, at all. If she entered a room in which he stood or sat, he would shortly leave. Forehead creased, eyes shifting so he need not see her.
    "Daddy what can I say ? Can't remember, can't testify. Daddy I'm so ashamed"
    What were people saying of them ?
    He'd aged a decade in ten days.
    Before the incident Marianne Mulvaney had been the only junior elected to the King and Queen's "court", she had numerous girlfriends, and was welcome anywhere. She was so well liked, so popular, she rarely lacked for people eager to do her favors. And she was so pretty! So radiant. No other word: radiant. How beautiful Marianne was!

    Of the children, Marianne had always been the most natural Christian.
    Nothing worried Marianne more than the possibility she'd hurt someone's feelings.
    And so why did she have she been hurt in such a way ? Judd asked himself.
    There was a confusion of times, places. It was like switching TV channels-you never knew where exactly you were, or how long you'd be there.
    Judd didn't want to misrepresent his father. There were days when he didn't drink much, or in any case didn't show the effects of drinking. Which were for him an anesthetized glare, on the edge of belligerence but lacking the energy to cross over. He'd come home exhausted, too tired to eat. He was a good man in his heart but stymied, frenzied, like a creature poked by spears, upright and flailing in a corner. If you got too close, to console, or hope to be consoled, you might be hurt.
    However at the time, Judd hardened his heart against him. He was a drunk. He was a fool. He was stupid. It seemed to him the most natural thing, that a son might kill his father; to protect not just himself but his mother. He's waiting to explode. Look what he did to Marianne. Erased her like she never existed.
    He drank to anesthetize himself so there was minimal danger of flashes of memory of High Point Farm and Marianne.
    Marianne he'd loved most. Who'd hurt him most. Betrayed. He could not always remember why, exactly. But there was a reason. Michael Mulvaney always had reasons.
    It was simple as that, and Patrick understood. He understood, but couldn't forgive.
    Judd missed Patrick! His brother, Judd loved his brother .
    Patrick w went way from Point Farm too.
    What had he said of their parents-they were casualties? Dad was like some poor creature whose life is being sucked out of him by a predator? By nature's plan? Yet Patrick had seemed to blame their Dad anyway. He'd never forgiven him. When he called home, which was rare, it was never at a time Dad was likely to be home.
    Patrick wanted to study the relations between selected species and their ecology, the process of Darwinian evolution. As the son of a devout Christian, he was fascinated by the theory of "natural selection".
    On the contrary, their mother Corinne was a passionate "nondenominational Protestant" as she called herself, with a weakness for remote country churches .
    She'd been a farmer's daughter of the kind who had to work, work, work. That way of life was past now, like kerosene lamps, outdoor privies, snow chains on tires.
    And she believed that life is dog-eat-dog.
    Her husband had been cheated of the business he'd spent a lifetime building up, his farm-home had been taken from him, his family. Sucked dry and tossed down like a husk. His enemies ganging together against him, bringing him to ruin.
    But Corinne Mulvaney, loved his husband so much and she wished she could give him peace, peace in his troubled heart.
    Another wife might have screamed Bankrupt! Failure! Impotent! but never Corinne who had given her life to him, and would surely have died for him. Hadn't she sacrificed their only daughter to his blind, raging self-righteousness?
    She always said you have to experience certain things to know certain things. She was the mother, and so possessed a mysterious and unquestioned authority.
    She was a Democrat and a liberal, the sort of Protestant who allowed no one to stand between her and God.
    She had to play "Mrs. Mulvaney"-"the lady of the house"-
    She had to be polite, smiling, hopeful and never, never betray the misery she felt.
    Because life was trickier than TV, it seemed so often to be veering in the wrong direction, yet sometimes it veered in the right direction as if by accident.

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  • 5

    "Gli specchi dovrebbero pensare più a lungo prima di riflettere."Jean Cocteau

    Una famiglia perfetta, invidiata, stimata, amata, quattro figli perfetti, belli e dannati, una splendida fattoria, ecc. La classica famiglia borghese Americana. Il grande sogno Americano. Almeno cos ...continue

    Una famiglia perfetta, invidiata, stimata, amata, quattro figli perfetti, belli e dannati, una splendida fattoria, ecc. La classica famiglia borghese Americana. Il grande sogno Americano. Almeno così sembra! Ma nulla è come appare, perché quando le persone costruiscono qualcosa senza fondamenta basta un niente per rendere vano tutto il lavoro...

    Il romanzo mi è piaciuto molto ma mi ha fatto anche arrabbiare moltissimo, una vera famiglia dovrebbe difendere proteggere e prendersi cura dei propri figli se no che senso avrebbe! Marianne (unica figlia femmina dei coniugi Mulvaney) subisce violenza due volte, ma la più devastante è quella dei genitori che la abbandonano a se stessa, la ignorano e la escludono dalla loro vita esiliandola per espiare la propria colpa... Insomma VITTIMA due volte. Micheal dov'è finito tutto l'amore che provavi per tua figlia quando lei aveva bisogno di te? E tu Corinne cosa hai fatto? Hai aiutato tuo marito, un una persona codarda e meschina, ad abbandonare la vostra adorata figlia! Lo avete chiamato incidente anzi un “semplice incidente” quello che è successo. E i vostri altri figli? Che fine hanno fatto? Li avete costretti ad allontanarsi, in solitudine, ognuno a combattere la propria guerra in nome della vendetta e della giustizia che voi non siste stati in grado di dare. Così avete abbandonato anche loro…
    Un proverbio dice “Chi è causa del suo mal pianga se stesso”.

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  • *** This comment contains spoilers! ***

    4

    Un libro doloroso

    L'ho cominciato per un G.D.L. e all'inizio non ero molto convinta, quando ho visto che erano più di mille pag.! Lo ero anche meno, ma poi lentamente , intorno alle 100 pag. il libro mi ha preso e l'ho ...continue

    L'ho cominciato per un G.D.L. e all'inizio non ero molto convinta, quando ho visto che erano più di mille pag.! Lo ero anche meno, ma poi lentamente , intorno alle 100 pag. il libro mi ha preso e l'ho trovato molto realistico, anche nel finale " scoppiettante" perchè non è detto che una sofferenza sia per sempre.
    Sono d'accordo con la mia amica Mari, quando dice che "l'anima nera" del libro è Corinne: così buona, così allegra, così "madre", da essere alla fine solo una moglie che non vuol perdere il marito e che caccia via la figlia!!! Si è meritata tutto quello che le è capitato dopo ...e in fondo anche il perdono finale...
    Ho amato Patrik e la sua trasformazione mi è piaciuta, sono dell'idea che tutti possiamo cambiare. Adoro Judd, quello che insieme a Marianne ha sofferto di più.
    Che dire del "grande capo" : una merda d'uomo, uno che si lascia andare e che butta all'aria tutto solo perchè non ha "abbastanza palle" Scusate se sono un po' scurrile nei giudizi , ma ho sentito molto questo libro e non ho trovato i personaggi inconsistenti, al contrario li ho trovati molto "veri" nelle loro contraddizioni, l'uomo è fatto soprattutto di contraddizioni.
    Unico neo : Troooppo lungo!!!! Ma brava Oates

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  • 3

    Vergogna!

    Vergogna, ma non la vergogna di Marianne, ma la vergogna di un padre troppo orgoglioso e voglioso dell'approvazione degli altri, estranei, per sostenere la figlia.
    Vergogna di una madre che pur di non ...continue

    Vergogna, ma non la vergogna di Marianne, ma la vergogna di un padre troppo orgoglioso e voglioso dell'approvazione degli altri, estranei, per sostenere la figlia.
    Vergogna di una madre che pur di non perdere l'approvazione del suo uomo rinnega la figlia.
    Vergogna di una società ipocrita, perbenista e moralista.

    Al di là della vergogna, che a parer mio è un po' esagerata siamo comunque nel 1976 negli USA e non in uno stato telabano, la scrittura non mi ha conquistato, avevo già letto altro della Oates ed ero rimasta perplessa, questa nuova chance mi lascia tiepida, troppo ampollosa, troppo avanti e indietro nel tempo, troppo fuori tema, e quel finale tipo happy end ha stonato con le troppe pagine scritte.
    I personaggi sono tutti troppo, troppo Patrick simil dotto convertito alla new age, troppo Marianne che fugge e sfugge per poi capitolare senza un minimo di maturazione dell'animo, troppo poco Mike che pare esserci giusto per, troppo Corienne madre assente, ma che pretende, debole seppur la si vuol mostrare forte.
    No cara Oates non mi hai convinta neanche stavolta

    5.5/10

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  • 3

    Splendori e miserie di una famiglia "molto" Americana

    Ah se l'avesse scritta Balzac questa storia, quanta ironia e quanta commozione avremmo trovato tra le righe e nelle pieghe di ciascun personaggio. E invece l'ha scritta la Oates, una scrittrice a me s ...continue

    Ah se l'avesse scritta Balzac questa storia, quanta ironia e quanta commozione avremmo trovato tra le righe e nelle pieghe di ciascun personaggio. E invece l'ha scritta la Oates, una scrittrice a me sconosciuta fino ad oggi che mi trattengo a stento dal definire glaciale, asettica, distante.
    Quanta poca empatia per questi esseri umani, forse con la sola eccezione di Marianne e dei numerosi animali che popolano tutto il romanzo. La Oates parte con una perfetta e piuttosto antipatica famiglia per bene, prosegue con una valanga di disgrazie, finisce con una sorta di happy end (il 4 luglio!!) che chiude tutte le esistenze in un pacchetto colorato di cui ancora non mi capacito.
    Di 1/3 della narrazione forse potevamo fare a meno, le prolissità della scrittrice non aiutano perchè contrariamente a Balzac che nella prolissità sguazza e ci coinvolge, qui ci perdiamo e spesso anche annoiamo, prendendo le distanze poco alla volta.
    Il titolo italiano poi non aiuta neanche a capire di cosa stiamo leggendo. Più opportuno "Eravamo i Mulvaney", una delle tante famiglie americane appunto.
    Ah fosse stato P. Roth a raccontare la stessa storia...

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  • 2

    Ho iniziato il libro piena di aspettative... cercando di inserirlo nella libreria scopro di averlo già letto ma di non averne memoria per cui lo rileggo.....
    Le aspettative restano deluse in primis da ...continue

    Ho iniziato il libro piena di aspettative... cercando di inserirlo nella libreria scopro di averlo già letto ma di non averne memoria per cui lo rileggo.....
    Le aspettative restano deluse in primis dal modo di raccontare della Oates, troppo arzigogolato, tutti quei andare avanti/indietro mi facevano venire il mal di mare.... ma anche dalla storia stessa, si parte bene col racconto della famiglia Mulvaney ma ci si perde strada facendo...
    Di sicuro non ci sarà una terza lettura, non vedevo l'ora di togliermelo dalle mani!!!

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  • 3

    la descrizione della splendida famiglia americana (ma lo era?) della prima parte del romanzo convince ed invoglia alla lettura; il disfacimento della stessa dopo che l'irreparabile li travolge si per ...continue

    la descrizione della splendida famiglia americana (ma lo era?) della prima parte del romanzo convince ed invoglia alla lettura; il disfacimento della stessa dopo che l'irreparabile li travolge si perde in descrizioni prolisse e ripetizioni di concetti già espressi che rendono faticoso arrivare alla conclusione.
    e se ci aggiungo una scrittura poco ispirata...tre stelle mi paion pure troppe

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  • 4

    Le vicende dei Mulvaney mi hanno piano piano risucchiato in un vortice di lettura ostinata, di quelle che non tollerano interruzioni.

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