“Quite simply, one of the finest collections of short fiction ever written by an American. . . . These 20 stories are the most violent, intense products we have yet had from an especially violent and intense creative imagination.”
“Mr. Frost—is it possible that your audiences have been deceived, and that you aren’t a ‘homespun New England bard’ but something very different? An emissary from ‘dark places’…?
Joyce Carol Oates is an unparalleled investigator of human flaws. In these eight stories, she deftly tests the bonds between damaged individuals—a brother and sister, a teacher and student, two strangers on a subway—in the fearless prose for which she’s become so celebrated.
You begin your journey on so high an elevation that your destination is already in sight—a city that you have visited many times and that, moreover, is indicated on a traveler’s map you have carefully folded up to take along with you. You are a lover of maps, and you have already committed this map to memory, but you bring it with you just the same.
It was early afternoon when Swan reached the brink of the hill that sloped down to town. He gazed at it, at the flat, watery image he had been seeing for so long in his mind’s eye, and it was with an almost careless, brutal gesture that he drew his arm across his forehead.
BY THE NORTH GATE introduces a new young American writer of singular talent.
The tales in this collection are translated from an imaginary work, Azulejos, by an imaginary author, Fernandes de Briao. To the best of my knowledge he has no existence and has never existed, though without his very real guidance I would not have had access to the mystical “Portugal” of the stories …
Here are stories that are intense, ironic, sinister, and violent, reflecting incisively the mores of a frightening world in which love is complex and difficult, in which evil is ordinary…
“Certainly this paradigm—the woman floundering about in a world of male force—returns to haunt nearly every story in the book, producing an intensity that we haven’t felt in the American art story—and I’m serious about this although it might seem extravagant to say—since the work of Poe”
In The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror, Joyce Carol Oates evokes the “fascination of the abomination” that is at the core of the most profound, the most unsettling, and the most memorable of dark mystery fiction.
A little girl who has witnessed a murder; a fragile, simple-minded woman deserted by her husband; a brilliant college student edging toward the brink of insanity; an American intellectual visiting in Poland, so closely identifying with “My Warszawa” that she finds her own sense of identity slipping away.
THE FIRST? That’s easy. My mom’s Bauer semiautomatic snubbie, a .25-caliber “defense weapon” good for six rounds. It was made of stainless steel with a pretty ivory grip and a barrel so short—two inches!—it looked like a toy. When we moved to Connecticut after Dad left us, she carried it in her purse sometimes when she went out after dark, but we weren’t supposed to know about this.
Kerry Sutherland charts the connections between Joyce Carol Oates’s story “My Warszawa: 1980” and Henry James’s The Awkward Age.
A young wife is home alone when the phone rings in “So Help Me God.” Is the strange voice flirting with her from the other end of the phone her […]
By Joyce Carol Oates Originally Published in American Gothic Tales Though in many of its aspects this visible world seems formed in love, the invisible spheres were formed in fright. […]
I first read this unclassifiable prose piece— hardly a “tale” in any conventional sense, still less a “story”—when I was an undergraduate at Syracuse University, and I have been haunted by its images ever since. Herman Melville, our first native feminist?—can it be so?