Hazards of Time Travel
Hazards of Time Travel (HarperCollins, 2018), Joyce Carol Oates’s (English) latest novel, is the dystopian story of a young woman’s resistance against the constraints of an oppressive society. In the North American States—a bleak future dictatorship founded on sexism, racism, and violence—Adriane Strohl is punished for her provocative high-school valedictorian speech by being sent back in time. She is transported to the idyllic yet repressive midwestern town of Wainscotia, Wisconsin, as it existed in 1959. Set upon a course of “rehabilitation,” she is forced to assume the identity of Mary Ellen Enright, a student at the local state college. “Like a clean, precise log-splitting ax swing,” writes Alexander C. Kafka in the Los Angeles Review of Books, “that simple premise exposes a world of ideas and questions” with potent political and psychological implications.
Oates is joined by Robert Hass (English). After a brief discussion of the book, they open the floor for discussion.