By Joyce Carol Oates

New York: Mysterious Press, 2021
299 Pages


From literary icon Joyce Carol Oates comes a brand new collection of haunting and, at times, darkly humorous mystery & suspense stories. These are tales of psyches pushed to their limits by the expectations of everyday life―from a woman who gets lost on her drive home to her plush suburban home and ends up breaking into a stranger’s house, to a first-person account of a cloned 1940s magazine pinup girl being sold at auction and embodying America’s ideals of beauty and womanhood.

Taken as a whole, the collection forms a poignant tapestry of regular people searching for their place in a social hierarchy, often with devastating and disastrous results. Rendered with stylish, fresh writing from an author who continues to push the envelope, the stories deftly weave in and out of a stream-of-consciousness to reflect the ways we process traumatic experiences and impart that uncertainty and uneasiness to the reader.

Originally appearing in publications as disparate as Harper’s, Vice, and Conjunctions, the stories comprising Night, Neon showcase Oates’ mastery of the suspense story―and her relentless use of the form to conduct unapologetically honest explorations of American identity.

table of contentsContents

  • Detour information
  • Curious information
  • Miss Golden Dreams 1949 information
  • Wanting information
  • Parole Hearing, California Institution for Women, Chino, CA information
  • Intimacy information
  • The Flagellant information
  • Vaping: A User’s Manual information
  • Night, Neon information

Book Covers


reviews, starts, 5Reviews

Betsy Reed, The Observer, March 27, 2022
4 stars
Joyce Carol Oates’s multitudinous collections are repeatedly subtitled “tales of suspense” or “stories of mystery”. You tend to know what you’re getting with an Oatesian short – a disquieting snapshot of American life on the verge of individual or ideological collapse – and these nine additions to her oeuvre don’t disappoint.

Publishers Weekly, April 26, 2021
4 stars
Abuse, madness, confinement, and flight are prominent themes in this strong collection of nine varied, dark, and disquieting stories from Oates.

Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2021
3 stars
The latest collection from the indefatigable Oates reprints a recent novella along with eight shorter nightmares. Nightmares is an even more apt term than usual for these stories, whose meanings are developed not by well-made plots but through flashbacks, reflections, or complications of their powerful opening tableaux.

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