By Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates, the “grand mistress of ghoulishness” (Publishers Weekly), showcases her mastery in four deeply disturbing novellas that will leave the reader both quaking and pining for more.

cardiff by the sea
Author: Joyce Carol Oates
Publisher: Mysterious Press
Year: 2020
Pages: 288

From one of the most important contemporary American writers, Cardiff, by the Sea is a bold, haunting collection of four previously unpublished novellas.

In the titular novella, an academic in Pennsylvania discovers a terrifying trauma from her past after inheriting a house in Cardiff, Maine from someone she has never heard of. Mia, the protagonist of “Miao Dao,” is a pubescent girl overcome with loneliness, who befriends a feral cat that becomes her protector from the increasingly aggressive males that surround her.

A brilliant but shy college sophomore realizes that she is pregnant in “Phantomwise: 1972.” Distraught, she allows a distinguished visiting professor to take her under his wing, though it quickly becomes evident that he is interested in more than an academic mentorship. Lastly, “The Surviving Child” is Stefan, who was spared when his mother, a famous poet, killed his sister and herself. Stefan’s father remarries, but his young wife is haunted by dead poet’s voice dancing in the wind, an inexplicably befouled well, and a compulsive draw to the same gar-age that took two lives.

In these psychologically daring, chillingly suspenseful pieces, Joyce Carol Oates writes about women facing threats past and present.


  • Cardiff, by the Sea information
  • Miao Dao information
  • Phantomwise: 1972 information
  • The Surviving Child information




  1. thanks, Randy! however, these novellas have ALL been published previously….

    how are you & your family? this is such a stressful, tragic time— hoping that you are all right.

    much affection


    • Yes! The publisher should say “previously uncollected” rather than “previously unpublished” — hopefully they’ll correct that before the book itself is published! (In the contents list above, the blue “info” icons next to each story title link you to information about where each story was originally published).

      We are doing okay—thank you for asking—with everyone zooming into work or school, and we feel very fortunate to be able to do so. Stay safe yourself!


  2. dear Randy–

    I love the photo you have selected to represent “Cardiff, by the Sea”—- the dark figure holding the beautiful feral kitty Miao Dao.

    There is a new acknowledgment here: “The Surviving Child” has been selected for “The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror 2020” anthology.



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