Books: Notable

BELLEFLEUR by Joyce Carol Oates Dutton; 558 pages; $12.95

"We have no choice but to be Americans now," says Raphael Bellefleur, descendant of French aristocrats and now the owner of a baronial estate in the New World. But what is an American? The question has provoked writers as diverse as Henry James and Gertrude Stein, and it haunts Joyce Carol Oates throughout this vast seven-generation epic. That is not all that haunts her. Oates' twelfth novel informs the occult with Freudian insights. Boys change into hounds, men into bears; a man, swallowed...

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