Joyce Carol Oates is an American novelist born on June 16, 1938 in Lockport, New York. As a teenager, she was heavily influenced by Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, inspiring her to become an avid reader and writer. Her other early literary role models include Charlotte Brontë, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Henry David Thoreau. After graduating from Williamsville South High School, Oates attended Syracuse University to study English and later enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to earn her MA. She eventually made her foray into the literary realm with the publication of her first novel, With Shuddering Fall, in 1964.
In December 2003, Joyce Carol Oates released Rape: A Love Story, which tells the story of Teena Maguire, a woman who is brutally gang-raped on the Fourth of July. The novella follows Teena on the day of the incident and her subsequent journey of recovery. It is first and foremost a social commentary of the superficial way in which women are perceived in society.
Upon its publication, Rape: A Love Story garnered rave reviews from audiences and critics for its provocative depiction of sexual assault. Kate Kellaway of The Guardian states that it is “remarkable how fully Oates is able to project herself into the minds of the imbecilic misogynists she describes. Discomfort zones are her forte. She finds myriad ways to hit back at men. She knows how to use proper names to menacing effect.”