"A future archeologist equipped only with her oeuvre could easily piece together the whole of postwar America."
"Joyce Carol Oates has ... become one of the elemental forces of American fiction, a daemon from the lower depths. And yet to the museum keepers of national culture, her skill at resisting critical containment must be unnerving. She picks up and discards generic forms at will: re-creating versions of familiar ones (the political thriller, the courtroom drama), and inventing new ones (her brilliant postmodern Gothic romances, for instance). She refuses to restrict herself to one subject, to one stratum of society, one personality type. Indeed, her very productivity stands as a reproach. Over [forty] years ago, Oates confessed to the ambition of putting the whole world in her fiction—an ambition she termed 'laughably Balzacian.' It may have seemed so to her. But no one is laughing now."
—Henry Louis Gates Jr., The Nation