Joyce Carol Oates says the novel Missing Mom (Ecco) was written as a tribute to her mother, who died last year. Clearer, simpler, less literary than Oates' other books, it was meant to be a novel her mother would have enjoyed. Oates intended to publish it under a pseudonym. Her editor loved the book, and Oates agreed to let him publish it under her own name--which provokes this conversation about naive and sophisticated readers.
Read an excerpt from Missing Mom.