Joyce Carol Oates returns to Chicago in a free event on March 31 to talk about her new book “A Widow’s Story” (Harper Collins, publication date: Feb. 15). Joyce Carol Oates’s memoir of her husband’s death is more painfully self-revelatory than anything she dared produce as a fiction writer or critic. Early one morning in February 2008, Oates drove her husband, Raymond Smith, to the Princeton Medical Center where he was admitted with pneumonia. There, he developed a virulent opportunistic infection and died just one week later. Suddenly and unexpectedly alone, Oates staggered through her days and nights trying desperately just to survive Smith’s death and the terrifying loneliness that his death brought. In her typically probing fashion, Oates navigates her way through the choppy waters of widowhood, at first refusing to accept her new identity as a widow. She wonders if there is a perspective from which the widow’s grief is sheer vanity, this pretense that one’s loss is so very special that there has never been a loss quite like it. In the end, Oates finds meaning, much like many of Tolstoy’s characters, in the small acts that make up and sustain ordinary life.
Oates will appear at the Harold Washington Library, 400 S. State Street, Thursday, March 31, at 6:30 p.m and will be interviewed by Julia Keller.. Admission to the overflow room for this event is free with RSVP.
Thursday, March 31, 6:30 p.m.
Location: Harold Washington Library
400 South State Street
Chicago, IL 60605